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April, 1001. 


Pioneer Press Company, 
Printers, Binders and Electrorypers, 


Hon. Alexander Ramsey, - - - President 

Col. William P. Clough, - - Vice-President. 

Gen. John B. Sanborn, - Second Vice-President. 

Henry P. Upham, - - . - - Treasurer. 

Warren Upham, - - - Secretary and Librarian. 

David L. Kingsbury and Josiah B. Chaney, 

Assistant Librarians. 


Nathaniel P. Langford. Rev. Edward C. Mitchell. 
Gen. James H. Baker. Josiah B. Chaney. 

committee on obituaries. 

Hon. John D. Ludden. Hon. Henry L. Moss. 

Hon. Charles E. Flandrau. Gen. James H. Baiter. 

The Secretary of the Society is ex officio a member of these Committees 





History of Transportation m Minnesota, by Gen. James H. 

Baker 1-34 

Aboriginal transportation and traffic 2 

Period of French exploration : 4 

Later traffic of the Minnesota valley G 

Lake Superior and the fur trade 7 

Transportation by canals 14 

Steamboating on the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers 1G 

Our wagon roads and stage lines 18 

The Red River ox cart trade 20 

Winter travel by dog trains 21 

Present transportation on Lake Superior 21 

The advent of railways 23 

Summary review 33 

How we Won the San Juan Archipelago, by Gen. Edwin C. 

Mason M 

The Ojtbways in Minnesota, by Rev. Joseph A. Gilflllan.. . 60 129 

Their geographic distribution 

The Ojibway's love of his native place 

Personal appearance 

Infrequence of insanity 

Changes during the past twenty-five years 

Home life in the wigwam 

Conversation with visitors and among themselves 

Affection for their children 

The drum and chants 

Sleeping in the wigwam 

Endurance of cold 

Succession of occupations during the year TO 

Frequent scarcity of food in wintrr 

Habit of going in drbt II 


' - , Page. 

Chiefs and orators 74 

The Ojibways of Red lake 70 

The Ojibways of Cass aud Leech lakes . 78 

Heartiness in eating, and fish the staple food 80 

Ojibway gambling; feasts and councils; his ideal 83 

Industry of the women; their servile position S3 

Marriage, and abandoning wife and children $4 

Babyhood and childhood S6 

Mechanical ingenuity and skill S3 

Intellectual traits; comparison with the white race S9 

Murder rare, except when due to intoxication 92 

Natural politeness and patience 93 

- The Christian Ojibway 94 

Treatment of the aged ■ 00 

Tobacco smoking and chewing 97 

Mortality of children ' !)7 

Aversion to bathing; houses of one room 9S 

Hunting and killing game 99 

Neglect of domestic animals 101 

Great endurance in walking 108 

Longevity; recollections by old men 105 

Habits in work; logging, river driving, gardening 107 

Salutations— Asiatic origin 108 

Visiting; deliberateness in thinking and speaking 108 

Ojibway girls and women in housework 109 

Advice to travelers in the Ojibway country Ill 

Ojibway personal names Ill 

Regard to promises 112 

Expectation of gifts 113 

Lack of sympathy; sense of humor 113 

Heathen dances and their influence 114 

United States government agents and schools 117 

Treaties with the Ojibways 120 

Payment of annuities; gambling and drinking IS! 

Gathering wild rice; indolence of the men.... 128 

Rations from the government 128 

Rate of mortality; mixed-bloods increasing OS 

Destructiveness of intemperance 128 

The Ojibway language 1-7 

Civilization and Christianization OF THB OJIBWAYS 19 UntHI 
sota. by the Right Reverend Henry B. Whipple, n. D„ 

Liu D., Bishop of Minnesota 129 141 

CONTENTS. " vii 

Biographic Notes of Old Settlers, by Hon. Henry L. Moss. .143-102 

Henry Jackson ^ 

Jacob W. Bass 14 q 

William H. Forbes 147 

James M. Boal |£g 

Br. John J. Dewey 14 q 

William R. Marshall ' u$ 

David Olmsted ' !5 

Morton S. Wilkinson 15Q 

Jeremiah Russell 151 

Sylranus Trask 151 

Joseph W. Furber ' 151 

James S. Norris 152 

Lorenzo A. Babcock \ ...... . 152 

Gideon H. Pond \ 153 

David B. Loomis 153 

Parsons K. Johnson 154 

Benjamin W. Brunson 154 

Henry N. Setzer 150 

Mahlon Black 155 

Miss Harriet E. Bishop * 157 

Other old settlers still living 1G0 

Early Trade and Traders in St. Paul, by Charles D. 
Elfelt .... 1G3-10G 

The Early Political History of Minnesota, by Hox. 
Charles D. Gilfillan lffT-180 

Beginnings of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, and the 
Early Missions of Park Place, St. Paul, by Bishop M. N. 
Gilbert ' 181-196 

Reminiscences of Minnesota During the Territorial Period, 

by Hon. Charles E. Flandrau 197-229 

Peculiar early immigrants 197 

Celebration of New Year's Day 100 

Early social conditions 291 

Pioneer missionaries ' 194 

Territorial politics 209 

A political episode 210 

Significance of geographic names 212 

Descriptive names given by the Sioux 2ir> 

The Sioux maiden feast 219 


Origin of the name Itasca 1 

Old names passing away 221 

Indian medicine men • 221 

Hennepin as Discoverer and Author, by Samuel M. Davis. . .223-24" 

Earlier discovery to the time of La Salle 223 

Hennepin's captivity and discoveries in Minnesota 223 

The life and character of Hennepin 234 

History op Duluth, and of St. Louis County, to the Year 

1870, by Hon. Jonx R. Carey 241-278 

Daniel Greyselon Du Lhut 241 

Fond du Lac 243 

Treaties with the Ojibways 24 1 

Counties of northeastern Minnesota 244 

Road from the St. Croix valley to Lake Superior 24 o 

Early missionaries 240 

The first election 24S 

Members of the legislature 250 

Duluth and other towns platted and incorporated 2">3 

Biographic sketches of pioneers 257 

The first boom, followed by depression in 1857 200 

First saw and grist mills 282 

Early sailing vessels on Lake Superior 263 

First railroads 2G0 

First postoflices and mails 2^7 

Decreased cold of recent winters 270 

Volunteers from St. Louis county in the civil war 271 

The town of Buchanan and the land office 272 

First sermons and churches 27°; 

School districts and schools 27 1 

Location of the county seat. 27 ; 

Beginnings in this county and the city of Duluth 277 

The Early Settlement and History op Redwood County, by 
Hon. Orlando B. Turrell 27:' 

History of Lumrerino in the St. Croix Valley, with Bio- 
graphic Sketches, by William H. C. Folsom 201 "2 1 

Beginning of settlements, steambonting, and lumbering 109 

Establishment of the interstate boundary HKS 

Pioneer lumbering on government lands 

Forest tires and decrease of rainfall 

The Villflge of Marine 

Osceola, Wisconsin M 



The old St. Croix count}- 290 

The city of Stillwater 301 

Lakeland, Afton and Point Douglas 905 

Prescott, Wisconsin 300 

District of the Apple and Willow rivers 306 

Mills on the C, St. P., M. and O. railway 300 

Pine, Carlton and Kanabec counties 310 

Duluth and the St. Louis river » 312 

Clam river and Burnett county, Wisconsin 313 

Taylor's Falls and vicinity 314 

Areola, Washington county 310 

The Nevers dam 310 

Log booms and rafts 317 

Lumber manufacturing farther south in Minnesota 31S 

Summary and statistics *. 321-321 

Amount cf logs cut from 1837 to 1S98 321 

Recapitulation of logs and sawn lumber 322 

Cost of labor in lumbering, 1S37 to 1898 323 

Losses by fires 323 

History of Pioneer Lumbering on the Upper Mississippi and 
Its Tributaries, With Biographic Sketches, by Daniel 

Stanchfield 325-302 

Personal narration 325-350 

Arrival in Minnesota 320 

Exploration of the pineries on the Rum river 329 

Loss of the first log drive 333 

First logging near the Crow Wing river 335 

Exploration of the upper streams and lakes 338 

Growth of the town of St. Anthony 339 

Outfits for lumbering repaid by logs 341 

Relation of lumbering to agricultural settlement 344 

Incidents during exploration and logging 341 

Changes in this industry since fifty years ago M6 

Lumbermen of St. Anthony and Minneapolis prior to 

1SG0 M 

Early lumber manufacturing above Minneapolis 

B lographlc sketches 353 • 1 

Franklin Steele 

Caleb D. Dorr 

Sumner W. Farnham 

John Martin 

Dortlua Morrison. . . . 

John S. Plllsbury 





Recollections of the City and People of St. Paul, 3843-1808, 

by August L. Larpenteur 363- 391 

Kindred and migration to St. Paul 304 

Population and trade in 1813 3r,S 

Marriage, and our pioneer store and home 371 

Hostilities between the Ojibways and Sioux 371 

The Jackson hotel, with an anecdote . 375 

First surveys and land claims 378 

Organization and growth of Minnesota territory 379 

Experiences of the early traders 379 

Relatives come to St Paul 383 

Treaties with the Sioux 381 

Trade with the far Northwest 385 

Game, and its decrease 3SG 

Steamboat travel, freighting, and adventures 386 

Vindication and eulogy of the pioneers 390 

Captivity Among the Sioux, August 18 to Septemeer 20. 1862, 

by Mrs. N. D. White 395-420 

Fight, ambush, and massacre 391 

Captives taken to Little Crow's village 402 

On the march westward 409 

Camp Release 418 

Return through St. Peter and St. Paul to Wisconsin 422 

Narration of a Friendly Sioux, by Snana, the Rescuer of 
Mary Schwandt 427-430 

The Sioux Outbreak in the Year 1862, with Notes of Mis- 
sionary Work Among the Sioux, by Rev. Moses N. Adams... 431-462 

Causes of the outbreak 132 

Little Crow, conspirator and leader 134 

The massacre 435 

Events of the following twelve days 439 

Reconnoissance and burial of the dead 112 

- : Battle of Birch Coulie 444 

Summary of losses by the massacre and war 149 

Aid by friendly Dakota* 449 

Christian missions and their results 449 

The Louisiana Purchase and PRECEDING SPANISH T > run.rrs 
for Dismemberment of the Union, by Nathan in Pn I LaSQ 

ford 401 199 

Foresight of Washington 



Dissatisfaction of western settlers 456 

Prophecies of Navarro 457 

Gen. Wilkinson's intrigues 460 

Spanish Inquisition 463 

State of Frankland 465 

Invasion of Louisiana threatened 470 

Treaty of Madrid 471 

Treaty of St. Ildephonso . 472 

Claim of our government 474 

Talleyrand's diplomacy 475 

Tedious delay 476 

Right of deposit prohibited 478 

Monroe appointed minister extraordinary 4S0 

Bonaparte's proposition 4S2 

Louisiana Purchase treaty signed 483 

Texas included in the Louisiana Purchase 4S5 

Mews of Congressmen 490 

Letters of Jefferson 493 

Opinion of Chief Justice Marshall 495 

Anglo-American alliance MM 

Fears of eastern statesmen 498 

Mode of denning western boundary 500 

Discovery of the Columbia by Captain Gray 5O0 

Attitude of Jefferson 501 

Lewis and Clark expedition 502 

Astor expedition 606 

Florida treaty 504 

Final settlement of boundary 506 

Some Legacies of the Ordinance of 17S7, by Hon. James Oscar 

Pierce 509-518 

Nationality B08 

The dual system of government. BM 

Freedom 517 

Tveligious liberty and popular education 518 

The Dual Origin of Minnesota, by Samukt. M. Hams 519-548 

Cession of the Northwest Territory Uft 

The Ordinance of 17S7 M 

The Louisiana Purchase Ufl 

Territorial governments Ml 

Admission of Minnesota to the Union 



Page . 

Celebration of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Organiza- 
tion of the Minnesota Historical Society, en the Hall of 
the House of Representatives, St. Paul, Minn.. Wednes- 
day, November 15, 1899 540- 

Afternoon Session 551-GOi I 

Invocation, by Rev. Robert Forbes 551 

Greeting, by Hon. John Lind. Governor of Minnesota. . . 553 
Response, by the President, Hon. Alexander Ramsey.'. . 555 
* Organization and Growth of the Minnesota Histori- 
cal Society, by Gen. William G. L/E Due 559-5GS 

The Library, Museum, and Portrait Collection of the 
Minnesota Historical Society, by Nathaniel Pitt 

Langford 509-575 

The library 570 

The museum _ 572 

, Portraits 573 

Increase of these collections 573 

Retrospection 574 

Recollections of Persons and Events in the HISTORY 

of Minnesota, by Bishop Henry B. Whipple 570 586 

Progress of Minnesota During the Half Century, by 

Hon. Charles E. Flandrau 

Auld Dang Syne 

Evening Session W7-4BW 

Opening Address, by Hon. John S. Pillsbury 507 001 

Education in the United States AND in Minnesota 


President of the State University 803 816 

The common schools 

Academies r,or> 

Colleges •W 

Development of our educational system 

Normal schools WB 

Instruction in sciences WO r,] 1 

Physics (by Prof. Frederick S. Jones) 

Botany (by Prof. Conway MacMUlan) Ul 

Summary and statistics of educational prepress ^14 

Donations this year for public education BW 

Progress of the UNITED States DURING the Hale Cr\- 

tury, by Hon. Cushman k. Davis, United Btal m Ben 

Note by the Secretary 

Minnesota in the National Congress Durino These 

Fifty Years, by (Jen. JOHN H. S\m»orn 0M 8M 

contents. xiii 


The Work of the Minnesota Historical Society 
through Fifty Years in Preserving Minnesota His- 
tory, and its Duty to the Future, by Col. William 
P. Clough - ' 027-636 

America 630 

Orituaries 637-OSO 

Elias Franklin Drake t637~658 

Henry Mower Rice 654-0:>8 

Charles Edwin Mayo . 659-004 

Russell Blakeley 605-070 

Other Deceased Members of This Society, 1898-1901 671-0SO 

Franklin G. Adams 671 

Levi Atwood 071 

William M. Bushnell 071 

Alexander H. Cathcart 071 

Robert Clarke 07l» 

' Elliott Coues 672 

Charles P. Daly CT2 

William Dawson 673 

Samuel S. Eaton 

William H. Egle 673 

diaries D. Elfelt 874 

Mahlon X. Gilbert 074 

William Wirt Henry 075 

diaries J. Hoadly 575 

John R. Jones 675 

William II. Kelley 076 

Patrick H. Kelly 070 

John Jay Lane 677 

Edward Gay Mason 077 

Frank Blackwell Mayer. 871 

Delos A. Monfort 877 

Amos Perry 878 

John Thomas Scharf 07s 

Isaac Staples 67$ 

George C. Stone 878 

William S. Stryker 8TB 

George W. Sweet 670 

Charles L. Willis <V« 

John C. Wise W0 


081 AM 



Plate I. 

Map of the San Juan Archipelago 



Portrait of Hon. Henry L. Moss 



Portrait of Hon. Charles D. Gilfillan 



Portrait of Hon. John R. Carey 



First frame house in Duluth, built by Robert E. Jef- 



Portrait of William H. C. Folsom 





Portrait of Franklin Steele 















Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. N. D. White 







Map showing the territorial growth of the United 















Our present systems of transportation are the outgrowth of 
a method and order of evolution, not as slow as the Darwinian, 
but steadfast in the principles which have governed their de- 
velopment. From the carrier in the Soudan, with his load 
upon his back, or the Indian in his birch bark canoe, down to 
the modern splendidly equipped railway, or the superb ocean 
steamer, it has been a continuous development, and one that 
has caused and marked the progressive steps of man in trade 
and commerce, being, in itself, the highest mark of the best 
civilization. Safe and rapid transportation is the fruitful 
mother of material wealth. There seems to be no limit to its 
growth, and we wonder what next will quicken the movement 
of peoples and of products. In peace, or in war, safe and rapid 
transit has been the synonym of power. That upon China, a 
vast empire, but without the means of rapid or reasonable 
transportation, the very curtain of history should drop as 
blankly as if it belonged to some other planet, is perfectly ap- 
parent; while England, but a little island, by means of every 
modern system of transportation, has carried her arms, her 
commerce, and her power, into all the regions of the globe, 
gathering wealth in her movements as a universal carrier. 

Rapid transportation sets in motion mighty tides of immi- 
gration, and is the spur to all commerce, it tunnels th< 
mountains, it bridges the valleys, it deepens the rivers, it opeDI 
the wilderness, and builds new empires. It opened the Boti 
canal as a new gateway to the opulent East, and will Jti cat 

•An Address at tho Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Historical Society. 
Jan. 10, 1898. 


its way through the Isthmus of Panama, bringing the two 
great western oceans together. It brings the most distant na- 
tions into familiar intercourse, and banishes the spectre of 
famine by the even and speedy distribution of every human 

The annual export and import trade of the world has been 
estimated at $4,250,000,000, a sum so vast as to be practically 
incalculable; but it all turns upon the single pivot of trans- 
portation. Think of its currents and counter-currents, like 
millions of mighty shuttles, weaving the stately web of the 
world's trade and wealth! All lands and all seas are now 
open to the wondrous modern facilities of transportation, and 
if we can forefend the cataclysm of universal war, where will 
it all end? These gigantic movements call for merchants and 
statesmen, clothed with the highest faculties, to meet the 
weighty problems which this volume of trade, with its intri- 
cacies and complexities, is pressing for consideration over the 
whole sphere of the earth. 

To trace the history of our own transportation in the domain 
of Minnesota is to mark, step by step, our growth and develop- 
ment, from savagery, to our present stature among the great 
powers of the world. From the "drag'' of two poles tied to the 
pony of a Sioux Indian, to a modern steam engine, or from the 
birch bark canoe to a "whaleback," or steel steamer on lake 
Superior, is the very measure of our growth in power and 


The North American Indians, as found by Columbus, were 
the earliest historic people who vexed our riven and lakes 
with the paddle of the canoe. The Dakota nation and related 
tribes occupied the Missouri and upper Mississippi basins, 
while the Ojibways possessed our lake region, at the time of 
the advent of the French. Learning and research hare qoI ye! 
been able to unravel the mystery of the origin of the Indian 
race of North Ann rim. With their primitive modes Of trans- 
portation, however, we are all ramiliar. 

Preceding these, in the order of time, were the Mound Build- 
ers, a prehistoric race, who conducted traffic on our riTi ra and 



lakes more than a thousand years ago, as proven by the fact 
that two forests of timber have grown over the tumuli, near the 
Mississippi river, each forest requiring five hundred years to 
complete its growth and decay. In these groups of mounds we 
find virgin copper, that must have come from mines in the re- 
gion of lake Superior, which establishes the fact of that early 
traffic across our state. It is now fully substantiated, that 
they penetrated as far north as Itasca lake, and were on every 
branch of the Mississippi in its upper basin, and had even 
pushed their way across the continental divide into Canadian 
territory. It is also in evidence that the very portages used 
by our historic Indians were used by the Mound Builders, and 
that these shortest and most eligible routes between our water- 
ways were discovered and occupied for centuries, and long 
prior to their occupation by our present Indian tribes. 

Who these people were, we know not; but that they were 
here is incontestable, and that they had modes of transporta- 
tion is beyond doubt. Our aboriginal historic Indians, of whom 
we have some knowledge for about four hundred years, have 
even no legendary information concerning the people who built 
the mounds, nor have they themselves ever been mound build- 
ers. Our first transportation was conducted, therefore, by 
that prehistoric people. 

But if we desire to be really curious and learnedly inquisi- 
tive, we can go back of all these. There are on deposit, in the 
vaults of this society, prehistoric clipped Hints found at Little 
Falls, Minnesota, which date back probably fiw thousand 
years, according to the opinion of Prof. F. W. Putnam, the 
curator of the Peabody Museum. These implements, found 
by Miss Frances E. Babbitr, were under Band and gravel, which 
formed the flood plain of the Mississippi river in the dosing 
stage of the Glacial' period. They bring us face to face with 
Glacial man, existing upon the southern boundary of the great 
ice sheet which once enveloped the Northwest Did these peo- 
ple possess the means of transportation of their persons and 
property? and if so, what? Without pursuing this Inquiry, 
we know enough to be fully assured that s thousand yeaw 
before the keel of Columbus plowed the waters of the Atlantic 
in quest of a new world, transportation n ss In active operation 



on the lakes and rivers of Minnesota, by the strange and name- 
less people who left us the tumuli scattered over our state as 
the indubitable evidence of their occupancy and activity. 


Following the North American Indians, if we look for the 
first white men who navigated our waters, we find them in 
Peter Esprit Eadisson and his brother-in-law, Sieur des Gro- 
seilliers. In their "fourth voyage" these intrepid Frenchmen 
visited the southwest portion of lake Superior, fourteen years 
before Joliet and Marquette explored the lower part of the 
Mississippi river. Radisson and his companion discovered the 
upper Mississippi in 1C59. They coasted along the south shore 
of lake Superior, probably to the bay, Chequamegon, meaning 
a "long point of land,'' near Ashland, in Wisconsin. The In- 
dian name of the bay was Sha-ga-wa-ma-kon. They probably 
passed to a point between Kettle and Snake rivers, not far 
from Hinckley, Minnesota, thence to Mille Lacs and thence to 
discovery and crossing of the Mississippi river, at an unknown 
and unascertainable point, probably between the mouth of 
Sauk river and the mouth of Rum river. They were the first 
white men who visited the country now embraced in our state 
and paddled the first canoe through our waters. They came, 
as they themselves state, "in search of fur-bearing countries." 
It was commerce and trade, therefore, which opened this re- 
gion to the knowledge of the world. 

I am well aware that I stood in this very place January 24 
1879, Henry Hastings Sibley being in the chair, and delivered 
the annual address, then as now, of this society. My topic be- 
ing "Lake Superior," I then said: "Religion was the grand 
inspii-ing motive which first gave lake Superior to the knowl- 
edge of our era." The publication of Radisson's "Voyages,' 1 
by the Prince Society in 1SS5, constrains me to note, in eon 
trast with the missionary labors of Marquette and others, that 
the earliest Frenchmen to explore the west part of lake Supe- 
rior, toenter the area of Minnesota, and to see the Mississippi 
river, were led here for traffic and commercial gain. 

There is no sufficient reason, in my judgment, even to at- 
tempt the impeachment <>f Radisson's quaintly t«>i<i itorj it 




sheds light upon the first navigation of our waters in the very 
twilight of our history. It conies to us like a voice from the 
dead past, out of the Bodleian Library and British Museum. I 
am the more confirmed in my views as 'to the integrity of the 
Radisson annals by reason of the fact that the late Alfred J. 
Hill, long an honored member of this society, and Hon. J. V. 
Brower, the most careful and laborious archeological scholars 
this state has yet produced, both fully agree, after a careful 
consideration of all the facts for a period of four years, that 
Kadisson's story is true, and, in their judgment, ought not to be 
further questioned. 

IStext in the order of time came the Jesuit Fathers. In 10G5, 
on the shore of Chequamegon bay, Allouez established the 
Mission of the Holy Spirit, and four years later was succeeded 
in the same mission by Marquette. The Jesuits found upon 
the shores of this inland sea, many warlike tribes, but chief 
among these were the Chippewas, who filled almost the entire 
basin of Superior. The French early formed an alliance with 
these Indians, and the attachment has continued to this day. 
Their nomenclature was given to many places by the Jesuit 
Fathers; and it is a debatable question whether Minnesota 
did not receive its name from Chippewa, rather than Sioux 

A most noteworthy French adventurer came into this coun- 
try as early as 16S3, named Le Sueur, who, twelve years after- 
ward built a fort, or trading post, on the Mississippi a few 
miles below the mouth of the St. Croix. He came from Mon- 
treal, through the northern lakes, following the line of trade 
then establishing itself within the area that is now Minne- 
sota. Le Sueur returned to France, and received from the 
Grand Monarch a license to open certain mines on the St Peter 
river. The whole story of this mineral search is shrouded in 
romance and mystery. Instead of entering the count ry by the 
old route, he went to the mouth of the Mississippi river, and 
then, organizing his expedition, which consisted of twentj-flve 
men, mostly miners, he equipped a felucca, and in April. L700, 
started upon a journey as visionary as Jason's in search o( 
the Golden Fleece. After some time he increased his means of 
transportation by the addition of two canoes, and with these 


little boats he bravely stemmed the current of the great river 
a distance of more than 2,300 miles. His felucca was the first 
boat with sails which ever ascended the Mississippi. Near 
the confluence of the Blue Earth river with the Minnesota, he 
seems to have found the object of his search. Here they spent 
the winter of 1700. When the last detachment of Le Sueur's 
party left the next year, they cached their tools in that vicin- 
ity, and I have often endeavored to find the spot, but without 
success. Le Sueur failed in the object of his expedition, to 
discover and open valuable mines, as did De Soto in his pursuit 
of gold, and Ponce de Leon in quest of the fountain of eternal 
youth; but he opened up our rivers to transportation, and car- 
ried back to France 4,000 pounds of supposed copper ore, being 
the first boat load of freight, a native product, carried by a 
white man on the Minnesota river. 


While speaking of the Minnesota river, it is as well to com- 
plete such reference to its early navigation as is deemed im- 
portant. After Le Sueur, it was sixty-six years before we hear 
of another white man ascending the old St. Peters river. Ten 
years before the Declaration of Independence, a medical stu- 
dent from Connecticut, who had become a captain in the colo- 
nial French war, Jonathan Carver, turned his canoe into the 
waters of the St. Peter's river, to the vicinity of the site of Xew 
Ulm, where he spent the next winter with friendly Dakotaa 
Carver was confident that, if he could have continued his trav- 
els, he would find some river flowing westerly and leading to 
the Pacific ocean. 

In the year 1S00, we find trading posts established in the 
St. Peters valley by the Northwest Company of Montreal. 
The first one was located at Lac Travers, the next at Lac qui 
Parle, and the third at Traverse des Sioux. These forts v 
erected by that wonderful race of men called coureurs ilea toit, 
who came in by way of the Red river. This was the establish- 
ment of an early and fixed trade on that river. After, these 
came Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike, in 1805, Ho was an offl< er of the 
United States army, and came to require ob< dience to United 
States laws by certain British traders who Mill hoisted the 



British flag over their trading posts in violation of the treaty 
of 1783. He found these trading posts, up the St. Peter's river, 
and others on the upper waters of the Mississippi, in full opera- 
tion. In 1823, Major Stephen H. Long, of the United States 
topographical engineers, ascended the St. Peter's river. A little 
later, our army officers found some remarkable men in charge 
of the growing trade of the St. Peter's valley. At Lac Trav- 
ers was Joseph R. Brown; at Lac qui Parle, Joseph Renville; 
at Traverse des Sioux, Louis Provencalle; and at Little Rapids, 
Jean B. Faribault. These men were identified with every move- 
ment of trade in that era. The trade was carried on by pack- 
ers, dog trains, and canoes. The earliest of these trading posts 
was transferred from the Northwest Company to John Jacob 
Astor, in 1811; Astor transferred them, in 1834, to the Ameri- 
can Fur Company, of which Ramsay Crooks was president; 
and they were finally transferred, in 1842, to Pierre Chouteau, 
Jr., and Company, of St. Louis. H. H. Sibley became, in 1S34, 
a partner of the American Fur Company, and the same year he 
established his headquarters at the mouth of the St. Peter's 

Thus were trade and commerce firmly established in the 
valley of the St. Peter's river. This was the first era of trade 
of white men in that region. The next era was the advent of 
steamboats on that river in 1S50, to be followed by the rail- 
ways in 1867. 


We must always remember that Minnesota was discovered 
by the way of lake Superior; that our earliest traders, voy- 
ageurs and missionaries, all came to us by way of the great 
lakes. Commerce and transportation began from that dir. - 
tion; and our Indian coadjutors there were Chippewas, not 
Sioux. We recount with pride our early settlements and trade 
at Fort Snelling, Mendota, and St Paul; but loni: before these 
there were bold and daring men on our northeastern frontier, 
leading a strange life, and abounding in commercial activity, 
It is two hundred and twenty-eight years since Charles N 
ceased toying with his mistresses long enough to Bign o royal 
license to a company of traders, known as the "Honourable 
Company of Merchants-Adventurers trading into Hudson's 


Bay." The splendor of the precious metals of Mexico and 
Peru had hitherto dazzled the eyes of Europe. But royalty 
and beauty were now wrapping themselves in costly furs. So 
Prince Rupert went to his royal cousin one day and asked and 
received the sole privilege of trade and commerce in all this 
vast region, larger than Europe, extending from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific, and from our great lakes to Hudson- bay. For 
this grand monopoly he was to pay annually to his royal mas- 
ter, the king, two elk and two black beaver skins. The royal 
grant so made still remains and covers more than three million 
square miles. By the intervention of the crown, the new Do- 
minion of Canada has secured Manitoba, British Columbia 
and Vancouver's Island, from the grasp of the Hudson Bay 
company; but the vast area north of these, to the Arctic seas, 
still belongs to the old monopoly. Under this charter, granted 
in 1670, this great company received not only the absolute 
rights of trade, but the privilege to build castles and forts, to 
carry on war, and to make peace, with any non-Christian peo- 
ple. With wonderful energy, the company raised and palisad- 
ed posts along the remote inlets of Hudson bay, extending 
their operations as far south as our own territory, and thus 
built up a colonial trade in furs. And when the French came 
into possession of Quebec, the company boldly pushed their 
fortunes to the west and established themselves along our own 

As a competitor to the Hudson Bay Company there was 
organized, in the winter of 1783, the Northwest Company of 
Montreal. These companies became bitter rivals and contest- 
ed the barbaric field with obstinate pertinacity. Their fruds 
only ceased after the Earl of Selkirk, in the years 1S11 to L817, 
founded the Red River Settlement. The rival companies con- 
solidated in 1821, the Northwest Company being merged in the 
Hudson Bay Company. Long years before the adventurous 
foot of the white man had pressed the soil where St. Paul HQ19 
stands, and while St. Anthony's Falls was yet a myth in the 
wilderness, the bold voyageurs of these aggressive companies 
had found their way to the west end of lake Superior; had 
thence threaded the intricate communications \n!u«'1i lead by 
lakes, streams and portages to Lake Winnipeg and tin Baa- 



katchewan; and had penetrated even to lake Athabasca and 
Great Slave lake. 

Fort William, built in 1801 to 1804, on the Kaministiquia 
river, was the chief western fort of the Northwest Company. 
Another important fort, of earlier date, was on our own soil, 
at the southern terminus of the Grand Portage. The first im- 
portant road, lying partly in our state, was the one built be- 
tween these two forts, the bridges being made of cedar logs, 
the remains of some of which I myself have seen. The road 
was thirty-six miles long, and was built in the earliest years 
of this century. 

The locality called Grand Portage, at the site of the old 
trading post and fort, on the south end of the portage of this 
name, is on a small crescent-shaped bay, which has an island 
at its entrance, 146 miles from Duluth. There is still a band 
of Chippewa Indians located there. I have read, at Fort Wil- 
liam, in a journal of one of the employees of the Northwest 
Company, a very minute and detailed account, in a rude diary, 
of the scenes of enterprise and traffic which he saw at Grand 
Portage in the summer of 1800. It appears that at that time 
there stood in the center of the semicircular shore of this 
bay a large fort, well picketed, enclosing several acres of 
ground. I have camped upon the spot several days, and found 
the place most eligibly situated for the purposes intended. 
Here, the diary says, was a house for officers and men, and a 
building for storage and stores. There was a canoe yard con- 
taining one hundred canoes of all sizes. Seventy canoes were 
contracted for annually for the commerce of that place. His 
diary notes that on July 3d, 1800, thirty-five great canoes ar- 
rived from Mackinaw, each carrying from three to five tons of 
goods, with eight voyageurs to a canoe. Over seventy canoefl 
had already arrived from the west, coming from Lake Winni- 
peg through Rainy river, from the Saskatchewan, and from 
the Athabasca and Great Slave lakes. These were Laden 
with furs and pelts. The thirty-five great canoes, from Mon- 
treal, 1,S00 miles away, were laden with a year's supply of 
goods, food, liquors, tea, etc. Grand Portage wai at that time, 
and as early at least as 17(>7. the grand exchange and distribut- 
ing center for the fur trade in that part of die world. The 
factors themselves were present for the great annual settle- 


ment of business. The diary goes on to relate that several 
hundred white men were there assembled, and that over seven 
hundred Indian women were retained by the company to 
scrape and clean the skins, and to make up the packages of 
pelts. The writer describes the scene as having all the air of 
a busy city. 

On that night of the 3rd of July, 1S00, according to the 
diary, the factors gave a "great ball." The large dining room, 
with its puncheon floor sixty feet long, was cleared, and in- 
spiring music was furnished by the bagpipe, violin, and flute. 
Thirty-six gallons of rum were issued by the factors, which 
made the night hilarious. There was a plenty of women, too, 
and "beautiful half-breeds" who. danced well. One Indian 
woman got drunk and killed her husband. 

These scenes at Grand Portage took place twenty years be- 
fore the corner stone of Fort Snelling was laid, and thirty- 
eight years before the first white man claimed land in the 
vicinity of St. Paul. Here was a busy town, a mart of ex- 
change and trade, with a commerce extending to Montreal. 
1,800 miles east, and to Great Slave lake, 2,000 miles northwest . 
Transportation must have been vigorously conducted for the 
vast distances covered. Count Andriani, an Italian, was at 
Grand Portage in 1791, and its activities were the same. Sure- 
ly trade and commerce in Minnesota, and pretty good trans- 
portation, too, did not begin with the men of this generation. 

A romantic interest attaches to some of these bold and dar- 
ing early voyageurs and traders, brave Scotchmen, whose for- 
tunes were lost in the memorable battle of Culloden, in 1746, 
and who fled to British America. Their blood gave vigor and 
force to the affairs of the traders. In the veins of many of 
the half-breeds and bright bois bruit- girls on the Red river flows 
the blood of the men who fought for Lochiel and the Camer- 
ons, near Inverness, in 174G. It only needs the glamour of the 
glittering pen of a Walter Scott, or the power which wanni 
Cooper's thrilling stories, to weave their wild annals into ro- 
mances as fascinating as Waverlev, and as charming as the 
border scenes depicted in the Leatherstocking tales, l have 
also read, in Parknian'a histories of Now France, how Cardinal 
Richelieu headed the company of the "One Hundred Aaao 
ates," in 1627, who engaged In tho fur trade In Canada. That 


company was at last merged in the Northwest Company, which 
links these noted characters to our territory, and to a time 
within the memory of men yet living. Upon our own border 
we are allied back to the days of Louis XIV, of France; to 
Charles II, of England; and to the great chiefs and clans of 
Scotland, who fought at Culloden when the flag of the Stuarts 
went down forever. 

Thus began the era and the reign of the celebrated fur com- 
panies in and about the basin of lake. Superior. They were 
the lords of the lake. They dwelt in semi-baronial state in 
their grand chateau at the Sault Ste. Marie, or transacted the 
yearly business at their castellated rendezvous, Grand Por- 
tage, now in Cook county, Minnesota. 

We must here notice a very remarkable body of men, 
brought into action by the fur companies, who rapidly became 
a distinctive class. The voyageurs and coureurs des bois (rang- 
ers of the woods) were the pioneers of the commerce of lake 
Superior, and of our northern waters. They were the com- 
mon carriers of that era. Bold, daring, courageous, they nav- 
igated the entire chain of lakes and rivers from Montreal to 
Athabasca, freighting pelts and transporting supplies over an 
area of country as large as Europe. Swarthy^ sunburnt, and 
fearless, they were the heroes of the paddle; and for years 
their cheery songs were heard and their fleets were seen along 
the rugged shores of our great lake and in all the country 
northwestward, portaging over rocks, shooting rapids along, 
roaring rivers, and traversing mighty wildernesses. They 
would have laughed at the obstacles of the Klondike. At a 
later date, they performed the almost incredible feat of cross- 
ing and recrossing the continent in birch bark canoes, in a 
single season, and passed from the mouth of the Columbia, 
on the Facific, to Fort William, on Lake Superior, with all the 
regularity of a steamboat. They were indeed a wonderful 
race, lively, fickle, polite, reckless, and immoral, full of song 
and stories of wild adventure. They crossed and repressed 
the continent long ye ars before /lay Cooke or James J. Hill 
ever dreamed of marrying our inland sea. with steel bands, to 
the Pacific ocean, and nearly upon the same geographic line* 
One has to read the brilliant pages of Irvine's AatOlia, or the 
adventures of Capt. Bonneville, to fully appreciate the ehar- 


acter of the early voyageurs who so boldly crossed the con- 
tinent in canoes more than a hundred years ago. 

In 1765, by an edict of royal authority, the traders were re- 
quired to procure a license, and the first authorized trader was 
Alexander Henry, grandfather of our late friend and asso- 
ciate, Norman W. Kittson. Henry received the exclusive 
right to trade on Lake Superior. He was methodical, and 
kept a diary to which we are deeply indebted. His first stock 
consisted of the freight of four large canoes, on twelve 
months' credit, to be paid in beaver pelts. All accounts were 
kept in beaver skins. I have found the market price at that 
period, in the Hudson Bay Company's journals. A single blan- 
ket was worth ten skins; a common gun, twenty; a pound of 
powder*, two; a pound of shot, one; and a pint of rum would 
buy anything an Indian had. The amazing extent of this 
trade is evidenced from the fact that Henry, in one expedition, 
secured 12,000 beaver skins, besides great numbers of otter 
and marten, and the skins of some silver-tailed foxes. 

Some idea of the extent of the canoe commerce along the 
shores of our great lake may be further gathered from Har- 
mon's journal (published in 1820), who records that he left the 
Sault Ste. Marie, on his way to Grand Portage, June 1st, 1800, 
in company with three hundred men, in thirty-five canoes. On 
his way beyond Grand Portage, in the descent of Rainy river, 
he met, on July 2Gth, twenty-four canoes from Lake Athabas- 
ca, laden with furs to be sent to Montreal. Surely there were 
men here engaged in all the activities of a wonderful com- 
merce, before our advent upon the stage. Neither Duluth. St 
Paul, nor St. Anthony, were the first commercial marts of our 
territory; for the records of the Hudson Bay Company, soon 
at Fort William, pertaining to dates earlier than those already 
noticed, show that Grand Portage was a commercial emporium, 
full of trade, shops, style and fashion, with drinking pla< es 
and police officers, the very day John Hancock signed the Dec- 
laration of Independence. 

But we must no longer pursue this fascinating theme, 
which might be profitably continued through the wars and 
consolidations of the great fur companies. 

The period of their extensive trade on Lake Superior and in 
the area of the great Canadian Northwest, under the British 



ilag, with encroachment on territory in Minnesota surrendered 
to the United States by the treaty of 1783, extended no later 
than forty years from that date. In 1823 the expedition of 
Major Long, visiting Fort William on their eastward return 
from Lake Winnipeg, found the large fort nearly deserted, the 
fur trade on this route north of Lake Superior having greatly 
declined. This traffic had passed to the rivals and successors 
of the Northwest company, being diverted northward "to the 
Hudson Bay Company, and southward to fur traders of the 
United States. 

John Jacob Astor, a German furrier and merchant of New 
York, who had the highest enterprise for the extension of do- 
mestic and foreign trade, went to Montreal in 1816 and bought 
all the posts and factories of the Northwest Company south of 
the line which Franklin's sagacity and foresight had given 
us as the international boundary. American lads from Ver- 
mont were brought out, and under the influence of the Ameri- 
can Fur Company lake Superior began to be gradually Ameri- 
canized. Astor's first agent was Kamsay Crooks, father of 
Col. William Crooks of St. Paul. Their headquarters were at 
La Pointe, on an island partly inclosing Chequamegon bay 
near the head of the lake. Charles H. Oakes, a youth from 
Vermont, appeared upon the scene. Associated with Oakes 
was Charles William Wulff Borup, a young Dane, from Copen- 
hagen, and many other names of strong and able men, like 
William and Allan Morrison. In 1842, the American Fur Com- 
pany closed its business and sold its interests to Pierre Chou- 
teau, Jr., and Company, of St. Louis, who were represented by 
Henry M. Rice. In 1849 Rice retired from the trade, and the 
fur interests, no longer represented by a. powerful company, 
soon ceased to maintain the ancient supremacy, and gradually 
melted away before the advent of new interests. Thus practi- 
cally closed the most remarkable era of early trade and com- 
merce ever connected with the history and fortunes of any 

The Indian title existed around the entire extent of lake 
Superior until the year 1820, when, on June KUli. Lewis Cass 
formally hoisted the United States flag at the entrance of the 

lake, and made the treaty by which the Indians ceded I tract 
of land four miles square adjoining the Sault Ste. Marie. A 


treaty made six years later opened the south shore to com- 
mercial activity, and thenceforward a new life of trade and 
commerce was gradually developed upon our inland sea. 
These treaties, and two subsequent ones in 1842 and in 1854, 
completed the cession of the shores of the great lake, so far 
as they lie within the United States, and transferred the title 
from the former Chippewa possessors to our national govern- 

We can give no better illustration of the transportation in 
use during that early period than is related by the great School- 
craft in describing the first advent of a body of United States 
troops along the shore, after one of the treaties; how they 
came, sixty men and officers, with a commissariat and a medical 
department, borne on three great twelve-oar barges, attended 
by four boats of subsistence and a fleet of canoes, with mar- 
tial music and with flags flying. As the fleet stretched out 
in grand procession, Schoolcraft declares it "the most noble 
and imposing spectacle ever yet seen on the waters of lake 

The advent of the first sail vessels is not yet lost in obscu- 
rity. Henry records that in the winter of 1770-71 he built at 
Pine point on lake Superior, nine miles from the Sault. "a 
barge fit for the navigation of the lake," and his narration 
shows it to have been rigged with sails. In August, 1772, he 
launched, from the same shipyard, a sloop of forty tons. These 
vessels, used in unremunerative mining operations, were the 
earliest sailing craft known in the history of lake Superior. 
Harmon mentioned, in 1800, a vessel of about ninety-five tons 
burden in use then by the Northwest Company, plying four or 
five trips each summer between Pine point and Grand Portage, 
Schoolcraft relates that on the 9th day of November. 1833, 
"wheat in bulk, and flour in bags and barrels, were brought 
down for the first time." This is the earliest record of the 
shipping of any native products from lake Superior, other 
than pelts and the commodities exchanged for them* 


The rapids in the Ste. Mario river were the one greal ob- 
stacle to good transportation on lake Superior, and in L837 
Gov.Mason,of Michigan, by authority of the legislature, au 



thorized the first survey of a proposed canaJ, and Henry M. 
Rice, then a young man, carried the chain. A grant of lands 
was given by congress, 750,000 acres, in 1852; and Erastus 
Corning, Joseph Fairbanks, and others, constituting the St 
Mary's Falls Ship Canal Company, finished the first work on 
the canal May 21st, 1855. 

It should be here noted that Harmon's journal records the 
fact that previous to the year 1800 the Northwest Company 
had made a smaller canal and locks at the Sault Ste. Marie 
of sufficient size for the passage of large loaded canoes without 
breaking bulk. But no eye can foresee or pen predict the 
swelling commerce from a double empire — the British and 
American — in the rapid progress of events yet destined to pass 
over those mighty lakes, through those gates, in its march to 
the sea. 

God never built a railroad, but He did create and establish 
rivers, lakes, and oceans. Here there are no charges. They 
are the highways of the xVlmighty. They are the ever present 
and constant competitors of every artificial form of transpor- 
tation. They confront every railway corporation, and super- 
vise its schedule of rates. The great lakes say to every rail- 
way company in the Northwest, ''Before you fix your sched- 
ules, come and see us." These waterway potencies are strong- 
er than governmental interferences. Minnesota, by its superb 
situation, commanding the Mississippi and the western limit 
of lake navigation at Duluth, has its full measure of satisfac- 
tion and protection by means of its waterways. 

There has been more than one effort made to extend our 
great lacustral waterway farther west into the continent. In 
187S a convention was held at Duluth for the purpose of pro- 
jecting a canal from lake Superior across the state to the 
Red river. Three routes were proposed: one was the YYinni- 
bigoshish line; the second, called the southern route, by the 
Crow r Wing river and Otter Tail lake, to Fergus Falls; and still 
another, by Pigeon river, called the international route. Some 
of these canal routes were deemed as practicable as the 
improvement of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, connecting 
Green bay and the Mississippi. Tin's whole project was rerv 
seriously considered, ami more than one survey was under- 
taken. The purpose was to penetrate into the world's best 




zone of wheat, with water carriage. The project derived some 
stimulus from the fact that our Canadian neighbors were then 
building what is known as the "Dawson route," to connect 
lake Superior through many lakes and water stretches, with 
the Lake of the Woods. This included an immense lock at 
Fort Frances, near the mouth of Rainy lake, to pass the Koo- 
chiching falls of Rainy river, which was actually nearly com- 
pleted at an immense cost. The Canadian government really 
established this route, putting tugs on the lakes, and ox carts 
on the portages, and thus carried thousands of their emigrants 
to Manitoba. I doubt not that somewhere in our northern 
lacustrine region lies the undeveloped form of a great East 
and West canal, planned by engineers and once confidently 
expected to be finished; but the' iron horse which came to 
browse in the haunts of the elk and the buffalo has relegated 
these projects to the limbo of abandoned schemes. 


We must now return a moment to the great Father of Wa- 
ters, on whose bosom had floated, in the twilight of long ago. 
Hennepin, Du Luth, Le Sueur, and the intrepid French voy- 
ageurs and traders. 

May 10th, 1S23, occurred a stirring event, the arrival of 
the first steamboat, the "Virginia," from St. Louis, loaded 
with stores for Fort Snelling. This w r as the first steamboat 
ever seen by our Dakota Indians, and their fright was extreme, 
as they thought it some supernatural monster. The Virginia 
opened the upper Mississippi to steam navigation, and up to 
May2Gth, 1826, fifteen steamers had arrived at Fort Snelling. 
In 1839, about nine steamboats were running pretty regularly 
to Fort Snelling. In 1847 and 1S4S there was organized what 
was known as the Galena and Minnesota Packet Company. 
Among the list of the company we find the names of II. L 
Dousman, of Prairie du Chien, and EL U. Sibley, of Mendota. 
This company first purchased the steamer ArgO, of which M. 
W. Lodwick was captain, and our honored vice president, Roi 
sell Blakeley, then of Galena, was clerk, in the autumn of 
1847 this boat struck a Bnag near Wabasha and sank. Oar- 
ing the next winter the captain and clerk went to Cincinn 


Ohio, and purchased the Dr. Franklin, which was run very 
successfully for many years. Russell Blakeley, having been 
clerk of this steamer five years, in 1852 became its captain, 
and afterwards was captain of the Nominee and the Galena, 
bringing to St. Paul on these boats thousands of our earlier and 
best citizens. 

The organization of the Galena and Minnesota Packet Com- 
pany established system and regularity of our river transpor- 
tation; and from that time the river became the chief artery 
of our trade and the inlet to our immigration, till superseded 
by railways. In the "forties," St. Paul averaged from forty 
to ninety steamboat arrivals per annum. Following the Ga- 
lena company came the Dubuque and St. Paul Packet Com- 
pany, the St. Louis and St. Paul Line, and many others, to the 
last, the Diamond Jo Packet Company, which still exists. 
This review calls up the honored names of Davidson, Reynolds. 
Rhodes, and many others. The steamboat business became 
vast in extent. The culmination of this method of transporta- 
tion was about 1S57 and 1S5S. The former year there were 
9G5 arrivals, and in the latter year, 1,000. The arrival of a 
Mississippi steamer in that earlier era was a matter of the 
greatest importance, and curious crowds gathered at the land- 
ing to witness the scene. When I first came to Minnesota, in 
May, 1857, on the old War Eagle, I thought the whole popula- 
tion had turned out to give me a welcome! 

The advent of steamboats into the Minnesota river gave I 
wonderful impetus to the settlement and development of that 
fertile valley. I have verified the statements by the files of 
the old Pioneer, whose editor, James M. Goodhue, accompanied 
both of the earlier expeditions up the river and wrote a de- 
tailed account of each. On Friday, the 281h of June, 1850, the 
steamer Anthony Wayne, which had just arrived at St. Paul 
with a pleasure party from St. Louis, agreed, for the sum of 
£225, to take all passengers desiring to go. as far up the river 
as navigation was possible. About three hundred guests, with 
a band of music from Quincy, 111., atid the Sixth Regiment 
band from Fort Suelling. started up the river. Thov fought 
mosquitoes, danced, and passed ;i doten Indian villages, till 
they reached the mouth of the Blue Earth river, dbove Man- 

; V 


kato. Again, says Goodhue, on the 24th day of July, 1850, 
the steamer Yankee ascended the stream, and, picking up the 
shingle of the Anthony Wayne, carried it as far as the mouth 
of the Cottonwood river. After the Indian treaty of 1851, 
navigation gradually became regular; and the Tiger, Nominee, 
Humboldt, Equator, Time and Tide, Jeannette Roberts, Frank 
Steele, and Favorite, appeared successively in the trade, till 
the advent of the iron horse drove them out of business. 


Our wagon roads in the beginning were very crude. The 
first road has been referred to, running from Grand Portage 
to Fort William, The second was from St. Paul to Mendota, 
crossing the ferry at Fort Snelling. The next one was to the 
Falls of St. Anthony. In 1849, Amherst Willoughby and 
Simon Powers commenced running a daily line of wagons, 
during the summer only, between St. Paul and St. Anthony. 
In 1851, these same parties brought to Minnesota, and put on 
the line, the first Concord stages ever run in our state. In 
1851, also, Lyman L. Benson and Mr. Pattison came from 
Kalamazoo, Mich., and brought a large livery outfit. They 
put on a yellow line in opposition to Willoughby and Powers' 
coaches, which were red. A furious opposition resulted, and 
gave birth to the first "cut rates'' in the history of our state. 
Afterward, in 185G, our good friend Alvareu Allen and 
Charles L. Chase appeared upon the scene, and run a line to 
the upper Mississippi; and in 1850 they consolidated with J. 
C. Burbank and Capt. Kussell Blakeley, forming a new com- 
pany under the name of the Minnesota Stage Company. In 
1853, M. O. Walker established a winter line down through 
Minnesota and Iowa to Dubuque, and had the mail contract 
But in 1858 J. C. Burbank & Co. got the winter mail contract 
and drove the other line our. In 1851 and 1855, William Net 
tleton established a line of stages to Dnlurh; but this line 
also was soon absorbed by the Minnesota Stage Company. 

In 1851, J. C. Burbank established the first express bnsin< ss, 
and he was the father of thai sort of transportation in this 
state, lie was himself the first express messenger, niitl 
ried the first package entrusted to him. from Galena to st. 



Paul, in his pocket. Later, in 1856, Capt. Russell Blakeley 
bought an interest in the growing business; and with these 
enterprising spirits, Burbank and Blakeley, new life was in- 
fused into our young transportation system. The Minnesota 
Stage Company and the Northwestern Express Company were 
very closely identified in business relations. In I860, John 
L. Merriam bought out the interest of Allen and Chase in the 
stage company; and for the ensuing seven years this firm of 
Burbank, Blakeley & Merriam carried on the stage and ex- 
press business with wonderful energy and activity. Their ag- 
gregate routes covered about 1,300 miles, besides 300 miles 
more by "pony'' routes. In 1S65 they worked over seven hun- 
dred horses, and employed more than two hundred men. This 
firm left a splendid name for the energy, fairness, and justice 
which always characterized their dealing with the public as 
common carriers. But this very enterprising firm did not 
stop there. 

In 1857 and 1S58, Ramsay Crooks, agent of the Hudson 
Bay Company, sought transportation for the goods of that 
company through Minnesota to the far North. Captain Blake- 
ley himself made the contract with Crooks in Washington, 
and Blakeley visited the Red river late in the autumn of 1858, 
and decided that it could be navigated. The next season a 
steamboat, the Anson Northup, was built on the Red river, 
and was run by the company under the command of Capt. 
Edwin Bell. This was followed by a contract with Sir < tool ge 
Simpson, of the Hudson Bay Company, to transfer their goods 
to the Red River Settlement, now Manitoba, from Montreal, 
through St. Paul. Soon the company built the steamboat In- 
ternational, and thus was navigation established on the ft d 
river of the North. 

The history which I have here glanced at affected the iet- 
tlementand development of our state in the most substantial 
manner. Early transportation was thus established, amid in- 
numerable obstacles, and carried over the whole extent ot 
our territory, with a degree of energy and su< cess that marks 
the men identified with it as bold, aggressive, ami grand char- 
acters in the history of our early transportation. 

We must recur a moment to an early and Important road, 

established by the War Department as a military road, from 



Mendota to tlie Big Sioux river. The work was begun in 1853, 
and was completed in 1857, by authority of an act of congress. 
This road was located along the Minnesota river valley. It 
was the first road with bridges, and furnished good facilities 
for travel and early immigration. At one time, a system of 
plank roads was sought to be established, and our Territorial 
Legislature organized no less than six separate companies, 
but none ever materialized. 


It would be a serious omission to neglect to mention the 
extraordinary cart trade with Pembina. The beginning of this 
trade is undoubtedly due to Norman W. Kittson, our well- 
known pioneer, and he blazed out that line of travel which 
was ultimately adopted by the Minnesota Stage Company. 
Kittson, in 1843, established a trading post at Pembina. This 
trade grew till 1854. when the firm of Forbes «fc Kittson had 
fully established a great line of business. For a period of 
about twenty years, the furs from the rembina region were 
shipped in the most curious vehicle known to modern com- 
mercial life. It was a two-wheeled concern, of very rude but 
strong workmanship, made entirely of wood and leather, with- 
out a particle of iron, and would carry from six to seven hun- 
dred pounds. This cart cost about §15. To the cart an ox 
was geared by broad bands of buffalo hide. Sometimes there 
were two oxen, driven tandem. No grease was used, and the 
creaking axles were heard far away. From Pembina to St. 
Paul was about 4-18 miles. They generally consumed some 
thirty or forty days in the trip, and would arrive in St, Paul 
early in July. 

The drivers were not less striking in their appearance than 
the carts and oxen. The Red river half-breeds (boit hrulr'.o 
were a peculiar people with a character and dross hall civil- 
ized and half barbaric. They generally camped near what was 
called Larpenteur's lake, near the intersection of Palo and 
Marshall streets. They brought down pemican, buffalo 
tongues, and buffalo robes, with rut s and pelts, and took back 
teas, tobacco, alcohol, hardware, etc. in there were only 
six carts in the trade; in 1851, one hundred and two; and 


in 1857, five hundred. The value of this trade was a helpful 
auxiliary to our business in those early times. While in 1844 
it was reported at only $1,400, in 1SG3 it reached 8250,000. 
But the increase of the Burbank & Co. freight lines, the estab- 
lishment of steam navigation on the Red river, and the Sioux 
war of 1802, combined to drive these primitive prairie carts 
out of the field of trade. The fur trade, it should be re- 
membered, was always one of the chief sources of our early 
commerce and income. The prices of furs in some cases 
showed great fluctuation on account of changing demands of 
fashion. A mink skin, which in 1S5T brought only twenty 
cents, in 1863 had risen to five dollars and even seven dollars 
in value. 


TLe dog trains ought not to be forgotten, for during the 
long winters they did much freighting. Travellers would gen- 
erally have these dogs driven tandem, and would travel from 
thirty to forty miles a day. Some traders, with great pride, 
would have a cariole, with jingling bells, such as Kittson and 
Rolette came in, when they had been elected to the Legislature 
of 1852; and their coming attracted as much attention as the 
arrival of a Mississippi steamboat in the summer. When 
Commodore Kittson's first wife died, on the spot where the 
Ryan Hotel now stands, her remains were taken from St. Paul 
to Pembina, in the dead of winter, by a dog train. 


Let us return and resume, for a moment, the story of our 
developing commerce, on the most prodigious body of pure 
water in the world. That from the feeble beginnings we have 
noted this inland sea should have developed its present vast 
traffic, is one of the most, extraordinary facts of the commer- 
cial world. AYhat would Alexander Henry or Henry Rowe 
Schoolcraft think, if they could witness the magnitude of the 
ileets which now cover its bright waters? The Sault Sic. 
Marie river is the key to lake Superior. The rapids of this 
river, from the level of one lake to the level of the Other, fall 
twenty feet. To overcome this barrier was a necessity of our 
lake commerce. This natural obstacle has been practically 



surmounted by our government; and in 1S96 we have the 
official total of vessels passing through the "Soo" canals as 
18,615, with a registered tonnage of over 17,000,000. More 
than S,820 of the vessels were for Minnesota ports. To more 
fully comprehend the magnitude of this lake commerce, we 
may compare it with an official report which shows that but 
3,434 vessels passed through the Suez canal in 1S95, with a 
registered tonnage of only 8,448,225. The commerce passing 
the "Soo'' was thus more than double that of the great inter- 
ocean canal of De Lesseps. Every year this trade expands. 
New vessels, with new designs and enlarged capacities, con- 
tinue to astonish us. That remarkable class of vessels known 
as the "whalebacks" appeared in July, 18S8, the first one 
being named "No. 101." The first of the enormous steel steam- 
ships of James J. Hill was launched in the winter of 1892-93, 
and entered on business the following June. It was named 
the "Northwest."' It was followed by the "Northland,'' a sister 
ship, the following year. Such floating palaces are scarcely 
to be seen on any ocean of the world. Let me here note, for 
the enlargement of our minds to the measure of the lake 
traffic, that, for the year 1896, 47,942 carloads of grain were 
emptied into our lake vessels, or 59,S2S,999 bushels, all of 
which arrived at Duluth that year and was shipped through 
our lake on its journey to the east and to Europe. 

Think of the big "400-footers'' now on the lake, which can 
carry the products of a hundred farms! In 1895 the "Selim 
Eddy" carried 121,000 bushels of wheat. Within the past 
year the "Empire City'' took out 205,445 bushels. This is 
about the product of 17,000 acres, at the average of our pro- 
duction. It would load 342 cars, and at forty cars to the 
train would make more than eight great trains of grain. It 
is 6,163 tons of grain. Converted into flour, it would make 
46,000 barrels! 

The growth of our lake trade is simply unparalleled in 
the history of transportation. Deeper waterways and bigger 
ships go hand in hand. New enterprises are constantly in the 
air. It is now whispered that the transcontinental lines au- 
to open up trade from the lake with Asia; while another 
dream is to make deep waterways connecting with tin 4 At- 


lantic so that vessels may pass, without breaking bulk, to the 
waters of the ocean. It may be something more than a dream, 
that we shall yet hear the ebb and flow of the Atlantic on 
the shores of the Zenith City. Our lake steamship trade is 
the marvel of the world. Great records are made only to be 

But we are not yet done and must linger to note that an 
entirely new commerce has appeared on the north shore of 
lake Superior. Originating within our own territory, the rapid- 
ity and magnitude of its growth is absolutely astounding. In 
18S3, not a pound of iron ore had yet been shipped from Min- 
nesota. The Vermilion range was opened in 1884, and the 
great Mesabi not till 1892. In 1897, the Mesabi produced 
twice as much ore as either the Marquette, Gogebic, or Me- 
nominee ranges. The port of Two Harbors takes both Ver- 
milion and Mesabi ores, while Duluth handles Mesabi ores 
only. The investment in the lake Superior ore trade, includ- 
ing mines, buildings, railroads, and docks, has been estimated 
at $150,000,000; and the value of the fleet doing this special 
transportation is but little short of $50,000,000. The latest 
movement in the transportation of this ore appears in the 
fleet of steel steamers, put in our trade by the Bessemer 
Steamship Company of Cleveland, behind which is John D. 
Rockefeller. They are now building these steam monsters 
with a capacity of 7,000 gross or long tons, with barges of 
equal capacity. The lakes control the entire ore traffic. 

,This inland navigation starts with Minnesota. Among the 
components of its volume, ore stands first, grain second, lum- 
ber third, and then comes general merchandise. In 1857, it 
cost nearly ten cents per bushel to ship wheat from Chicago 
to Buffalo; but in 1897 wheat was shipped from Duluth to 
Buffalo at rates slightly over one and a half cents. Ore has 
been carried from our ports to lake Erie, in 1S97, for 57 cents 
a long ton; and returning vessels have carried coal to Duluth 
for 15 cents a short ton. 


It has been well said, that the highways of nations are 
the measure of their civilization. By means of speedy transit. 


society, government, commerce, arts, wealth, intelligence, are 
developed and advanced to their highest excellence. The 
thirty-one roads which radiated from the forum of Koine into 
her vast provinces, like spokes from the nave of a wheel, were 
proofs of the wisdom and grandeur of the Koman rule. The 
substitution of turnpikes for muddy lanes is on the line of 
true progress. In the pre-railway times of England, freight 
transportation by earth roads averaged twenty-six cents per 
ton per mile. The railways came and soon carried a ton of 
goods twenty-five miles an hour for two cents per mile. The 
value of a wagon load of wheat is totally consumed in hauling 
it on an earth road three hundred miles. The advent of the 
locomotive into our territory swept away other modes of trans- 
portation, except by water, and became the swift civilizer of 
the prairie and wilderness. No other known power could 
have accomplished what we now behold, in the compass of a 
single generation. 

In the spring of 1SG2 there was not a mile of railway in 
Minnesota. On June 30th, 1S97, the aggregate length of our 
railways was 6,080.35 miles, it is quite difficult to fix the 
precise time of the very first agitation for a railway within 
our borders. There is some unwritten history which may 
here be snatched from oblivion. In 1S4T, Prof. Increase A. 
Lapham outlined a plan for two railroads, one from lake Su- 
perior and another from St. Paul, which were to meet on the 
Red river, below where Fergus Falls now is; and that point 
of junction was to be called Lapham. This gentleman care- 
fully viewed the country and made a map of the routes and 
a written outline of his plans, which are in existence to this 
day. James M. Goodhue, in an editorial in the Pioneer, in 
1850, gave the first prophetic vision of a Northern Pacific rail- 
way, and specifically outlined a northern route, which he be- 
lieved was shorter and safer than the one then proposed from 
St. Louis to San Francisco, He cited the fact that there waa 
then a trail from the Red river to the mouth of the Columbia 
river, over which mails were regularly tarried by the Ameri- 
can Fur Company. His article was headed "A Short Koine 
to Oregon.'' 


Before the admission of Minnesota as a state, in 1858, many 
railroad companies had been chartered by the Territorial 
legislature. The first recorded effort was by J. W. Selby of 
this city, who gave notice of the introduction of a bill on 
March 2nd, in the session of 1852, to incorporate the Lake Su- 
perior and Mississippi River Railroad Company. It passed 
in the House, but failed in the Council; but it actually became 
a law March 2nd, 1853, by a subsequent legislature. The sec- 
ond charter was granted to the Minnesota Western Railroad 
Company, March 3rd, 1853; and the third to the Louisiana and 
Minnesota Railroad Company March 5th, 1853. Not less than 
twenty-seven railroad companies were authorized and char- 
tered from 1853 to 1857. But there was no life in any of them 
till March 3rd, 1S57, when Congress made a magnificent grant 
of lands "for the purpose of aiding in the construction of rail- 
roads in the Territory of Minnesota." Then the scene changed, 
and on May 22nd, 1857, the Territorial legislature passed an 
act granting these Congressional lands to four corporations, 
namely, the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Company, the 
Transit Railroad Company, the Root River Valley and South- 
ern Minnesota Railroad Company, and the Minneapolis and 
Cedar Valley Railroad Company. 

The state constitution, adopted October 13th, 1857, pro- 
vided in Art. 9, Sec. 10, as follows: "The credit of the state 
shall never be given or loaned in aid of any individual, asso- 
ciation, or corporation." But on March 9th, 1S58, the state 
legislature passed an act submitting to the people an amend- 
ment of this section of the constitution, so as to permit the 
loaning of the credit of the state to the land grant railroad 
companies to the amount of five million dollars; and it was 
adopted by popular vote on April loth. Grading on each of 
the recognized lines began, and Gov. Sibley delivered to each 
of the roads such bonds as they had earned under the condi- 
tions of the grant. 

The railroad companies, however, failed to pay the Interest 
on the bonds; work on the linos was practically suspended, 
and the five million loan amendment was repealed by a nearly 
unanimous popular vote, November 6th, 1860. During the 
year 18(>0, the state enforced its lien on each of the lines, and 



became the owner of the franchises, lands, and roadbeds. 
Subsequently, in 18G2, the state made new grants of these fran- 
chises and lands to other companies, thus infusing new life 
into these dead railways. 

The first company to get the benefit of this new effort to 
revive the lapsed roads, was the Minnesota and Pacific, which 
reappeared with a new name, the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad 
Company. The franchises of the old line were conferred. 
March 10th, 1862, on Dwight Woodbury, Henry T. Welles. R. 
R. Nelson, Edmund Rice, Edwin A. C. Hatch, James E. Thomp- 
son, Leander Gorton, Richard Ghute, William Lee. and their 
associates and successors. A contract was made with Elias 
F. Drake, of Ohio, and V. Winters, to construct that portion 
of the line between St. Paul and St. Anthony, and it was com- 
pleted and running June 28th, 18G2, and was the first railway 
in operation within the limits of our State. The establish- 
ment of this line gave an impetus to railway matters in Min- 
nesota. Edmund Rice was the first president of this road. 
The first engine was named "William Crooks," and was run 
by Webster C. Gardner. President Rice went to Europe about 
this time, to solicit the first foreign capital in aid of railways 
in our state. He shipped back 3,000 tons of rails, and work 
was pushed on toward Breekenridge. 

The second railway was begun in 1863. Section 25 of the 
original charter of the Minnesota and Pacific Railroad Com- 
pany had authorized a line from Winona to St. Paul. On 
March 6th, 1863, a grant of state swamp lands was made to 
this line, and St. Paul gave it a bonus of §50,000, being the 
first bonus to a railway in our state. The name was now 
changed to the St. Paul and Chicago Railroad Company. 
Edmund Rice was also the first president of this company. 
He again visited England and secured aid for the construc- 
tion of the road, and work was prosecuted with diligence. He 
also went to Washington to secure an enlargement of the land 
grant. It was there I first met Edmund Rice. He was difl 
tributing magnificent bouquets to the wives of members of 
Congress with a princely hand. It is needless to add that h* 
secured his land grant. This line was completed to La Cfl - 
cent in 1872. Through eastern trains began running, via 


Winona, in September, 1872. In a short time, this line was 
consolidated with the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, and 
its separate existence ceased. 

In contrast with the convenience of travel and transporta- 
tion of freight now afforded by this river valley route, I may 
recall the conditions of sixty years ago. En-me-ga-bow, the 
aged Indian pastor and co-worker of Bishop Whipple and 
Rev. J. A. Gilfillan among the Ojibways of northern Minne- 
sota, who has been a welcome visitor at the White House in 
Washington, and who is yet living on the White Earth Reser- 
vation, has related the experiences encountered in his youth 
when he passed down the Mississippi, transporting his effects 
in his bark canoe from the Pillager bands in the north to 
Prairie du Chien and return, meeting no white man on the 
way except at Fort Snelling. 

To follow the birth and development of our great railway 
lines is a task far beyond the limits of this paper. But we 
must notice the growth and influence of two or three systems 
upon the fortunes of our state, and from them learn the in- 
fluence of all. Take the St. Paul and Sioux City Railroad 
Company. This company was incorporated in 1857, to build 
one of the lines of the Root River Valley and Southern Minne- 
sota railroad. But in 1864 it was organized anew, and was 
called the Minnesota Valley Railroad Company. Under the 
operation of the Five Million Loan, some work had been done 
in 185S, between Mendota and Shakopee. This work had been 
suspended as upon other lines, but was revived under the act 
of 1804. The new incorporators were such men as E. F. 
Drake, John L. Merriam, J. C. Burbank, Capt. Russell Blake- 
ley, and others. It was essentially a home institution, these 
men, who were citizens of St. Paul, furnishing the money to 
construct and equip the road. It was opened from Mendota 
to Shakopee on November lGth, 1SG5; to Belle Plaine. No- 
vember 10th, 1SGG; to Mankato, October 112th, 18GS; and to 
Sioux City in 1872. The telegraph was opened through at 
the same time. During all its building period, this railroad 
was owned and operated exclusively by St. Paul men. Its first 
president was E. F. Drake: its chief engineer waa John B, 
Fish; its first superintendent was John v. Lincoln; and its 



first conductor was Alanson Messer, who still retains the same 
position, and is an honored citizen of St. Paul. It is probable 
that Mr. Messer and the Hon. James Smith, Jr., attorney of 
the St. Paul and Duluth Kailroad Company, are the two oldest 
railroad men in the state, in continuous service on the same 
line, their railway service being always within the limits of 
our state. The building of this line gave a most important 
and valuable highway to the commerce of the great Minne- 
sota valley. It furnished that character of transportation 
which the times demanded. It invited immigration, and 
speedily created a grand civilized kingdom in those rich soli- 
tudes which Le Sueur had bravely penetrated nearly two hun- 
dred years ago. 

Take also the St. Paul and Duluth line. This first ap- 
peared under the name of the Nebraska and Lake Superior 
Railroad Company, chartered in 1S5T. It brings to our vision 
the honored names of Lyman Dayton, Capt. William L. Ban- 
ning, James Smith, Jr., Parker Paine, and others, identified 
with its battles, its dark days, and its final triumph. It was 
completed to Duluth in 1S70, by the aid of Philadelphia cap- 
italists. The great function of this line was to unite the Mis- 
sissippi river with the great lake waterways, and thus it be- 
came a powerful agent in regulating tariffs in the state. It 
is so situated that it could not make tariffs of its own, except 
for local purposes; but it was the regulator of tariffs. It was 
a sort of common highway for all the other lines to the head 
of the lake, and the great systems have always prorated with 
it. But its supreme function was to regulate our traffic in its 
relation to the great waterways, and in this it has served a 
noble purpose. 

The Northern Pacific railroad early occupied a commanding 
position among our transportation systems. The building of a 
line from the head of the lake to the Pacific ocean, through the 
great northern zone, was pregnant with vast commercial in- 
terests to the future of Minnesota. Its building generated for 
us forces of trade and immigration which have been stupen- 
dous. Jay Cooke stands at the beginning of the great pano- 
rama, as its most conspicuous character; while Henry Villard 
rises before us as a. monument at (he completed end of this 



transcontinental line. Its charter was granted by Congress, 
July 2nd, 18G4, and was signed by Abraham Lincoln. It re- 
ceived a land grant commensurate with the magnitude of the 
undertaking. The loth day of February, 1870, near Thomson 
Junction, on a winter's day, the first dirt was thrown in the 
presence of a great crowd by Col. J. B. Culver, of Duluth. On 
the 8th day of September, 1S83, the last spike (not a gold one) 
was driven at Gold Creek, Montana. I witnessed the event, 
while holding a chair on which stood Gen. IT. S. Grant, the 
silent observer of this historic scene. Like some startling 
romance reads the history of the inception and the construc- 
tion, amid almost insuperable difficulties, to its final com- 
pletion, of this first northern continental highway. It was 
the new artery of the great northern zone of production. 
From lake Superior to Puget sound, the hum of activity pre- 
vailed. Cities sprung into existence, water-powers were de- 
veloped, lumber, fishing, and mining interests were unfolded, 
under the incentive of this national highway. And it was 
Minnesota's good fortune to stand at the gateway, where her 
merchants were to toll this wonderful wealth. This colossal 
enterprise sent fresh blood into every vein of our young state, 
and no pen can dare even now to predict the multitude of 
benefits Minnesota will continue to derive from the fulfillment 
of the dreams of Carver, of Whitney, and of Cooke. 

No better illustration can be given of the growth, muta- 
tions, tribulations, and influence of a system of transportation 
upon our state, than is to be found in the history of the old 
"St. Paul and Pacific railroad." Its original charter was 
granted May 22nd, IS.")!, to the Minnesota and Pacific Rail- 
road Company. By act of the legislature, March 10th. 1862, 
it became the St. Paul and Pacific. We note how grandly each 
of these early titles uses the terminus ''Pacific;'' and yet not 
one person connected with its early fortunes ever dreamed of 
its reaching the waters of the western ocean. That was re- 
served for a later and more aggressive personage. Subse- 
quently, May 23rd, 1ST!), it became the SI. Paul, Minneapolis 
and Manitoba railway; and finally, March 10th. 1885, il vrai 
merged into a giant system, the Great Northern Railway Oom 
puny, and that which had been provincial became continental. 


When financial clouds lowered over this line, in the era of 
the St. Paul and Pacific, the mortgages upon the property 
were foreclosed, and, the entire property passed into the hands 
of a remarkable syndicate, in whose control it became the 
St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba, and under their power- 
ful sway, its destinies were wholly changed. The syndicate 
making the purchase were James J. Hill, George Stephen (now 
Lord Mount-Stephen), Donald A. Smith (now Sir Donald A. 
Smith, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal), and Norman W. 

On the 10th day of July, 1856, there came to this territory 
from out of the woods of Canada, a young, unknown, black- 
eyed and black-haired lad, seeking fortune beneath Minne- 
sota's propitious skies. That young man has had a greater 
influence upon the history of transportation in this state than 
any other person. His name is James J. Hill. He has wit- 
nessed and promoted the extraordinary development from the 
old system of transportation, in the era of Kittson, or of 
Blakeley, to the most modern railway. He has been boldly 
aggressive, continuously pounding away at the one purpose 
of achieving great results in the ever expanding problem of 
better transportation. During the five years when I was rail- 
way commissioner of the state, from 1S82 to 1SS7, he prac- 
tically rebuilt all the old lines of the Great Northern system 
in Minnesota. He improved the curves and established new 
gradients. The wooden trestles became roadways of earth 
and stone, and the old bridges steel. He made a standard 
system, where he found a temporary one. He found iron rails, 
and changed them to steel. The lines and spurs of his sys- 
tem penetrate every great grain district of our state. Cast 
your eyes upon our railway map, and see how its lines cross 
and recross, how they ramify and spur into every part of the 
territory they seek to serve. Four times within a hundred 
miles, distinct lines of this system cross the international 
boundary to the Canadian side, and they have tin own iheir 
bands of steel all over the Dakotas. They have brought many 
thousands of immigrants, and have added new counties to this 

state, new (owns and cities, now wealth. Mr. Hill found 
freight rates about three cents per (on per mile, and lie has re- 


duced them to about one cent. His system has been essentially 
a Minnesota system. It has entered vitally into the building 
of our great commonwealth. With increasing prosperity, and 
without land grants or government subsidies, he has extended 
this railway to the waters of Puget sound, opening an im- 
perial highway across the continent in fulfillment of the 
prophecy of its earlier names. 

His energy has wrought out one of the most instructive 
stories of human achievement. Hostile criticism falls harm- 
less before such a career of unvarying success. Mr. Hill has 
fought his way into the anointed family of great men, and 
there is where history will leave him. This railway system, 
of which he has been the head, has achieved for us the most 
wonderful results, having created an empire by the services 
it has rendered, which will be an enduring monument of what 
a single system of transportation can do, when loyally and 
energetically directed to the welfare of the state. 

It would be pleasant to linger and recount what other great 
railway systems have done for the state, such as the Chicago 
and Northwestern, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, and 
others, but time will not admit. 

We have twenty-four distinct railway systems within our 
state, aggregating 6,0S6 miles, not including sidetracks and 
yard facilities. Thirty-six years ago we did not possess one 
mile. Minnesota has about one mile of railway to every 13 J 
square miles of teritory; Iowa, one to every 10; Wisconsin, 
one to 17; Kansas, one to 23. If we consider population as 
well as territory, we are about as well served as Massachu- 
setts, or any of the older states. Such means of transporta- 
tion and communication were never before the good fortune 
of any people. The elements inciting railway construction are 
still at work. Railways beget railways, and the end is not 

The twenty-four systems moved, within uur state, in 1S06, 
no less than G2,OO0,OOO tons of freight, and carried over 31,- 
000,000 passengers. We are actually startled at such figures, 
but they are official facts. The power of some of the com- 
panies is severely taxed to handle the traffic The volume of 

railroad business is a good barometer of trade, and official 


tables show that ours is constantly on the increase. With 
these facts before us, we can see that the days of Red river 
carts, stage coaches, and prairie schooners, are past. And 
even our rivers, as a squeezed orange, are quite thrown aside. 
As if by magic, our state has been trahformed into a checker- 
board of steel bars, bringing modern transportation to the 
very doors of our people. 

The colossal character of the grain movements in Minne- 
sota are so stupendous that few persons have an adequate 
knowledge of their extent. I give you figures never before 
summarized for the public. The number of bushels of grain 
moved on Minnesota lines during the year 1897 was 185,701,- 
130, being 255,510 carloads. The average cost per ton per 
mile, to move the same, was 1J cents. The average freight 
on wheat and corn from Duluth to Buffalo, in 1897, was L9 
cents per bushel; in 1886, it was 5.2 cents; and in 1872, 
12 cents. The average cost for freight, insurance, elevator 
charges, commission, and all other incidental charges on wheat 
from Duluth to London, in 1897, was 13 J cents. You could 
not procure the carriage of a single bushel of wheat from the 
capitol to the union depot, in this city, for less than 25 cents! 
Nothing has more specifically and materially affected our 
transportation problem than the constant and extraordinary 
reduction of tariff rates. No other necessity of human life 
has been more regularly and certainly cheapened to the people 
than the transporting of their persons and property. It is 
not only betterments and cheaper material that cheapen trans- 
portation, but the ever swelling volume of trade. It is the 
only thing known to me of which it can be said that, the more 
you feed it, the less it gets. 

We have come through experience, and a system of evolu- 
tion, to a better understanding of the laws which govern trans- 
portation. Governmental regulations should be few and 
simple, and strictly in accord with commercial and natural 
conditions. Every rate that is made to-day is made by in- 
fluences beyond the control of the carrier. You cannot pat 
railroads in straight jackets. Within reasonable restrictions, 
they should be left free. Like other business, to the operations 
of competition. 


Thus have I attempted to present to you the more salient 
features of the rise and growth of our varied systems of trans- 
portation, that mighty factor of our civilization. We have 
ascended the stream of time to the tumuli of the unknown 
dead. We have carried copper with them, in nameless boats, 
through lakelet and river. We have paddled in- the birch 
canoe of the historic Indian. We have seen strange fleets of 
early craft, loaded with pelts, stealing beneath the beetling 
rocks of our great lake, at the very twilight dawn of our story. 
We have stood with Le Sueur, on the deck of his felucca, as 
he ascended our rivers two centuries ago. We have beheld 
the lordly fur companies as they strode upon the scene, carry- 
ing their transportation to the far off Great Slave lake, a region 
so distant that we ourselves have not yet dared to invade it. 
We have been with the scholarly Schoolcraft, in 1820, as he 
proudly waved his hand to the advent of his country's flag 
and vessels when they first made entry to the waters of the 
"unsalted sea." We have stood, with the early immigrants, 
on the decks of the first steamboats which ascended our 
streams. We have been with Kittson and heard the screech- 
ing of the greaseless wheels of a wonderful commerce that 
arose in the far North. We have travelled by dog sledges 
amid the solitude of snows. We have welcomed, with Ed- 
mund Rice, the scepter of a new king in that wonderful horse 
whose sinews are steel, and whose breath is steam, and have 
listened to the far echoes of his shrill whistle over our prairies, 
as it proclaimed the death of the old carriers and the birth 
of the new. We have beheld our railways rivet their bracelets 
of steel all over the bosom of our commonwealth, till every 
hamlet is served with highways better than Rome under the 
empire of the Caesars ever dreamed of possessing. Bat, nor 
content with granting superb facilities within our own limits, 
we have seen our aggressive men of affairs pick up the ends 
of the steel ribbons, pass beyond the barriers of the state, and 
carry them across a continent to the waters of the Pacific 

We are pleased to remember, this day, that this admirable 
system of transportation rests upon a base of inexhaustible 



resources. We offer no Klondike, with specious gates of gold, 
amid pillars of ice, but that which is a thousand times better 
for morality and stability. Our resources challenge all that 
is good in the genius and energy of our sons. Over every 
square mile of our commonwealth, nature has spread her 
prodigal garniture with a princely hand. Ceres pours over us 
her wealth from the horn of plenty. But turn our soil and 
plant, and God's sun will kiss it into wealth. Only the volun- 
tarily idle can be disinherited in Minnesota. 

Possessing all these enriching conditions, even with but a 
respectable government and only a moderate race of states- 
men, our splendid body of business men will still carry our 
state forward to a superb destiny.. When we consider that the 
greater and better part of all this has been wrought during 
the span of a single human life, we behold a miracle of per- 
formance, in which most of you were the living actors. Never 
again will life present the same magnificent drama of events 
as the panorama you have witnessed. 

In surveying it all, I feel that, as the wise men of the 
East followed that star which came and stood over the place 
where the infant Savior was born, so we, impelled by some 
good Providence, followed the Star of the North, till it stood 
above a virgin empire of undeveloped wealth, which was for 
us, and for our children, the promised land. 





I propose to relate some incidents, not generally known to 
the public, in the final settlement of the Northwest Boundary 
between the United States and the British Possessions. 

Part of my information is derived from the records of the 
War Department, but chiefly from conversations with actors 
in the scene. For many years I was the Inspector General 
of the Military Department of the Columbia, which includes 
within its boundaries the Puget Sound region, where the diffi- 
culties occurred. My duties required me to make frequent 
visits to San Juan island during the period of the joint occupa- 
tion, and I became interested in this bit of American history 
because we were never nearer a war with England than at 
that time. The story I shall tell brings out one feature in the 
training of the American professional soldier. He is taught 
that every means for the peaceable settlement of a difficulty 
should be tried before force is used, but that there must be at 
the same time no surrender of the rights and dignity of the 
nation. The patience and forbearance of our trained army 
and naval officers has saved our country from bloodshed and 
loss of treasure, in more than one difficulty with foreign pow- 
ers, with the Indians on our plains, and the lawless mobs in 
our cities. In the San Juan affair General Winfield Scott won 
the title of "The Great Pacificator." His countrymen did well 
in bestowing upon him this title, for his pacific course on that 
occasion saved us from war. 

•Read at the monthly meetinpr of the Executive Council, November \\ 
<». General Mason died April SO, 1808. 



Every student of American history knows that the cry 
"54.40 or fight" was sufficient at one time to rouse the spirit 
of the American people against what were considered the un- 
just demands of Great Britain in the matter of the boundary 
line between the United States and her Majesty's possessions 
in the Northwest. 

The Hudson Bay Company claimed what is now Washing- 
ton and Oregon down to the California line. It was unrea- 
sonable; not so the American claim to territory above the 
49th parallel of latitude. 

The treaty of Washington, June loth, 1846, fixed the 
boundary line on that parallel. The treaty reads: "Along the 
said forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the 
channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Isl- 
and; and thence southerly through the middle of the said 
channel, and of Fuca's Straits, to the Pacific ocean." The 
vagueness and uncertainty of the wording of this section led 
to the subsequent difficulties. The value, and the commercial 
and military importance, of the San Juan archipelago were 
not appreciated by the distinguished gentlemen who nego- 
tiated the treaty. A glance at an atlas in use in 1S46 will 
show how little was really known of the vast region north- 
west from the junction of the Mississippi and Missouri to the 
Pacific ocean. But if the statesmen of Washington and Lon- 
don did not appreciate the value of the group of islands sepa- 
rating the waters of the Bay of Georgia from Puget sound, 
the Hudson Bay Company did. This powerful and influential 
corporation, created in 1670 by Charles the Second of England, 
was invested with the absolute proprietorship, subordinate 
sovereignty, and exclusive traffic, over an undefined territory 
which, under the name of Rupert's Land, comprised all the 
regions discovered, or to be discovered, within the entrance 
of Hudson bay. 

Pushing westward, by 1770 the company had reached the 
Pacific, and buying up or coalescing with rival companies, 
French and English, and claiming jurisdiction through 7.") de- 
grees of longitude, from Davis' Strait to Mount St Klias. and 
through 2S degrees of latitude, from the month of the Mac* 



kenzie to the borders of California, it virtually ruled the west- 
ern world north of the undisputed territory of the United 
States. The cession of Oregon and the fixing of the boundary 
line on the 49th parallel destroyed of course the rights of the 
company south of that line. 

At the time when this story begins the headquarters of 
the Hudson Bay Company were established at Victoria on 
Vancouver island, and Sir James Douglas, C. B., was gov- 
ernor and commander in chief in and over Vancouver island 
and its dependencies, as well as chief factor of the Hudson 
Bay Company. 

A glance at the map (plate I) will show five channels for 
the passage of vessels. Of these the Kosario straits to the 
eastward and the Canal de Haro to the westward were alone 
in controversy. 

I have said that the Hudson Bay Company appreciated the 
value of the archipelago, and was not slow in taking advan- 
tage of the doubtful wording of the treaty and assuming con- 
trol of the islands. The islands in the group number nineteen 
and contain about 200 square miles. They vary in size, from 
a few acres, to San Juan, which is about fifteen miles long 
and from three to six miles wide, comprising some GO square 
miles. The climate of the region is very mild and humid, thus 
offering special advantages for sheep raising and the cultiva- 
tion of fruits, tlowers, and vegetables. The strategic advan- 
tage of the group is apparent to the most casual observer. 
The power that holds these islands, controis the waters of 
Puget Sound and the vast waterways to the northward. The 
great coal fields of Xanaimo and other points in British Co- 
lumbia are only accessible through the channels of this group; 
and indeed British Columbia is dominated by the power that 
holds with a military and naval force the islands and their 
navigable channels. 

The foreign policy of England in regard to her territorial 
claims commends itself to a military man by its promptness 
and certainty. She generally acts first and talks afterward 
In this case she assumed at once that the Kosario Strait \n as 
the boundary line and acted on this assumption by directing 



British magistrates to exercise civil jurisdiction throughout 
the group. Before the days of the telegraph or the transcon- 
tinental railway, news from the far west traveled slowly, and 
it was some time before the government at Washington awoke 
to the condition of affairs. 

Under date of July 14th, 1855, Mr. Marcy, Secretary of 
State, wrote to Governor Stevens of Washington Territory as 
follows: "He [President Pierce] has instructed me to say to 
you, that the officers of the territory should abstain from all 
acts on the disputed grounds which are calculated to provoke 
any conflicts, so far as it can be done without implying the 
concession to the authority of Great Britain of an exclusive 
right over the premises. The title ought to be settled before 
either party should exclude the other by force, or exercise 
complete and exclusive sovereign right within the fairly dis- 
puted limits. . . . . " 

On the 17th of July, Mr. Marcy wrote to Mr. Crampton, the 
British minister, informing him of the letter to the governor 
of Washington Territory and expressing the hope that all col- 
lision may be avoided. The Americans who had settled on 
San Juan island were restless under the anomalous condition 
of affairs, and it was certain that difficulty would sooner or 
later occur. 

A humble and generally inoffensive pig was the innocent 
cause of a disturbance that came nearer to bringing on a war 
between England and America than any event since 1812. 

One day in June, 1859, an American by the name of Lyman 
A. Cutler shot and killed a pig that was the property of the 
Hudson Bay Company. This pig had been found damaging 
the field or garden of Cutler, whose request to the person in 
charge to have the pig confined was treated with contempt. 
Provoked by this, Cutler shot the animal. He afterward of- 
fered money in payment to twice its value, which was refused 
The next day the British ship of war Satellite, with a Mr. 
Pallas, a factor of the Hudson Bay Company, aboard, visited 
the island. Mr. Dallas threatened to take the American by 
force to Victoria for trial. Cutler resisted, ami. arming him- 
self, threatened to shoot anyone who would attempt his arrest. 
The arrest was not made. 



General W. S. Harney commanded at that time the De- 
partment of Oregon, with headquarters at Fort Vancouver on 
the Columbia river. These matters came to his ears through 
a petition from the Americans of San Juan island for protec- 
tion. In making his report to Washington the general says: 
''To attempt to take by an armed force an American citizen 
from our soil to be tried by British law, is an insult to our 
flag and an outrage upon the rights of our people that has 
roused them to a high state of indignation. It will be well 
for the British Government to know the American people on 
this coast will never sanction any claim they may assert to 
any other islands in Puget Sound than that of Vancouver, 
south of the 49th parallel and east of the Canal de Haro. Any 
attempt at possession by them will be followed by a collision.'' 

Without waiting for instructions from Washington, which 
would have taken thirty days by pony express across the con- 
tinent, or sixty by steamer via the isthmus of Panama, Gen- 
eral Harney took prompt action on the petition of the Ameri- 
cans for protection, and immediately ordered Capt. George E. 
Pickett, of the 9th Infantry, to proceed at once from Fort Bell- 
ingham to San Juan island and take station with his company 
D 01 the 9th Infantry. His orders provided for the protection 
of the people from the northern Indians of British Columbia 
and the Russian possessions (now our Alaska); he was also 
informed that another serious and important duty would de- 
volve upon him in the occupation of the islands, arising from 
the conflicting interests of the American citizens and the Hud- 
son Bay Company. He was informed that it would be his 
duty to afford adequate protection to the American citizens in 
their rights as such, and to resist all attempts at interference 
by the British authorities residing on Vancouver island, by 
intimidation or force, in the controversies of the above men- 
tioned parties. General Harney goes on to say that protection 
has been called for in consequence of the action of the chief 
factor of the Hudson Bay Company, Mr. Dallas, in baying re- 
cently visited San Juan island with a British sloop of war and 
threatened to take an American citizen by force to Vic toria 
for trial by British laws. ' l It is hoped a second at tempi of 



this kind will not be made; but to insure the safety of our 
citizens the general commanding directs you to meet the au- 
thorities from Victoria at once, on a second arrival, and in- 
form them they cannot be permitted to interfere with our citi- 
zens in any way. Any grievances they may allege as requir- 
ing redress can only be examined under our own laws, to 
which they must submit their claims in proper form." 

Captain Pickett was a brave and gallant officer, cool, and 
of excellent judgment. He was a southern man and on the 
outbreak of the rebellion, two years after these events, re- 
signed his commission in the United States Army and took 
service with the Confederacy. He rose to high rank in the 
southern army, and commanded the Confederate troops in that 
justly famous charge on Cemetery "Ridge at Gettysburg. That 
3d day of July, 1SG3, when at one o'clock in the afternoon Gen- 
eral Lee made his supreme effort to retrieve the fortunes of 
the day, and launched a grand assault upon the Union center 
along Cemetery Kidge, George Pickett's division was probably 
the most distinguished in that splendid army of northern Vir- 
ginia for discipline and valor. It was composed of fifteen Vir- 
ginia regiments, the very flower of southern chivalry. The 
bold, determined and enterprising spirit he had manifested 
in Indian scouts and campaigns on the frontier, where he had 
been ordered immediately after graduating from the Military 
Academy, fitted him for dealing with the emergency that had 
been precipitated by the action of the British authorities. It 
was his fine soldierly qualities, developed by active service on 
the frontier, that made him one of General Lee's trusted lieu- 

But to return to my subject. Captain Pickett did not wait 
for the quartermasters transport steamer to come out of Pu- 
get sound and move his company and stores, for he had heard 
that a British man-of-war was maneuvering about the island, 
and, appreciating the importance of gaining a foothold on San 
Juan unmolested, he shipped his men with their stores and 
supplies on a fishing schooner, and quietly sailed away from 
Fort Bellingham in the night, passing Lummi island into 
Rosario strait, and through the narrow channel between 


Blakely and Orcas islands into Upright channel, passing be- 
tween Shaw and Lopez, and before daylight cast anchor off a 
smooth gravelly beach in Griffin bay. 

A thick fog shrouded his. movements from observation and 
he effected his landing without being seen and without oppo- 
sition, if any was intended. When the morning sun scattered 
the fog, the astonished British seamen, from the decks of their 
men-of-war lying outside San Juan, saw a few white tents 
pitched on the ridge that extends along the middle of the 
island, and over them, on a flagstaff brought for the purpose, 
the United States flag dancing in the summer breeze. 

If you were to visit the island now, you would find, after 
landing in Griffin bay, the ground sloping gently upward from 
the water's edge until after about a mile it culminates in quite 
a ridge, highest where Pickett pitched his camp. Standing on 
the ruins of the little earthwork at that point, you command 
a fine and extensive view of both sides of the island, and of 
the bays, channels, and inlets, that separate the islands of the 
archipelago. The ground sloping away in all directions, you 
would see to the north and west the waters of the Canal de 
Haro and Vancouver's island beyond; southward, the broad 
sweep of the waters of the strait of Juan de Fuca, extending as 
far as the eye can reach tow T ard the Pacific ocean; and east- 
ward and northeastward, the waters of Rosario straits and 
the chief islands of the group. 

The defensive position selected by Pickett was an excel- 
lent one and gave him complete command, in every direction, 
of the approaches to his fort. The fort he afterwards built 
had a profile only on the south, east and west sides, the top 
of the parapet on the north merging there into the general 
level of the ridge. 

The action of that prompt old soldier. General Harney, in 
sending Captain Pickett to take military possession of San 
Juan did not meet the full approval of the President. Under 
date of September 3d, 1S59, the Acting Secretary of War in- 
formed him: "The President [Mr. Buchanan] was not pre- 
pared to learn that you had ordered military possession to 
be taken of the island of San Juan or Pollovue. Alt hough he 


believes the Straits of Haro to be the true boundary between 
Great Britain and the United States under the treaty of June 
15, 1846, and that, consequently, this island belongs to us, yet 
he had not anticipated that so decided a step would have been 
resorted to without instructions." But he further adds, "If 
you had good reason to believe that the colonial authorities 
of Great Britain were about to disturb the status, by taking 
possession of the island and assuming jurisdiction over it, you 
were in the right to anticipate their action." 

Immediately upon its being known that Captain Pickett 
had landed on the island, the Hudson Bay Agent sent him the 
following note: 

Bellevue Farm, San Juan Island, July 30. 1859. 
Sir,— I have the honor to inform you that the island of San Juan, 
on which your camp is pitched, is the property and in the occupation 
of the Hudson's Bay Company, and to request that you, and the whole 
of the party who have landed from the American vessels, will imme- 
diately cease to occupy the same. Should you be unwilling to comply 
with my request, I feel bound to apply to the civil authorities. Await- 
ing your reply, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant, 

Agent, Hudson Bay Company. 

Whatever doubts may have existed in Washington in re- 
gard to the attitude of the British government in regard to the 
ownership of these islands, this letter and the proclamation 
of Governor Douglas, issued at once on the 2nd day of August, 
make it plain that nothing less than the sovereignty of the 
archipelago was claimed. The proclamation reads: "The sov- 
ereignty of the Island of San Juan, and of the whole of the 
Haro Archipelago has always undeviatingly claimed to be in 
the crown of Great Britain. Therefore, I, James Douglas, do 
hereby formally and solemnly protest against the occupation 
of the said island, or any part of the said archipelago, by any 
person whatsoever, for or on behalf of any other power, here- 
by protesting and declaring that the sovereignty thereof by 
right now is, and always hath been, in her Majesty Queen 
Victoria, and her predecessors, kings of (hint Britain." 

Captain Pickett's answer to the letter of Agent Qriffin la 
as follows: 




Military Camp, San Juan, W. T., July 30, 1859. 
Sir— Your communication of this instant is received. I have to 
state in reply that I do not acknowledge the right of the Hudson's Bay 
Company to dictate my course of action. I am here by virtue of an 
order from my government, and shall remain until recalled by the same 
authority. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Captain, 9th U. S. Infantry, Commanding. 

Governor Douglas lost no time in assembling a fleet to en- 
force his proclamation, and on the next day after it was issued, 
August 3rd, at 10 p. m., Captain Pickett wrote a dispatch to 
General Harney, stating that three British war ships, the 
Tribune, the Plumper, and the Satellite, were lying off his 
camp in a menacing attitude. He then gave the substance of 
the interviews held during the day with the captains of these 
ships. Captain Hornby, the senior officer of the fleet, urged 
Captain Pickett to retire, or to consent to a joint military occu- 
pation until replies could be received from their respective 
governments, and proposed that during such time the com- 
manding officers of the forces should control and adjudicate 
between their respective countrymen. 

Captain Pickett requested Capt. Hornby, commanding the 
British fleet, to submit his proposition in writing, and said he 
would transmit it to General Harney, his superior and com- 
manding officer. This was done and in a few days the Adju- 
tant General of the Department replied: "The General ap- 
proves the course you have pursued and further directs that 
no joint occupation or any civil jurisdiction will be permitted 
on San Juan island by the British authorities under any cir- 
cumstances. Lieut. Colonel Casey is ordered to reinforce you 
without delay." 

Lieut. Colonel Silas Casey proceeded with his command 
on the steamer Julia from Fort Steilacoom and Port Town- 
send; he had with him companies A, C, and I, 4th Infantry, 
and H, 0th Infantry, together 203 men, and companies A. 1>. 
D, and M, 3rd Artillery, 181 men. Most fortunately ho too 
made the trip in a thick fog and landed on the island under 
the guns of the British fleet and without the knowledge of the 


British officers. The fortunate circumstance of the fog doubt- 
less prevented at this time the commencement of hostilities, 
for the British frigate Tribune was cruisiug off the landing, 
and her orders were to prevent Captain Pickett from being re- 
inforced. The morning light and the lifting fog showed the 
American force materially strengthened. The chagrin and 
mortification of the British captains were intense at being 
again outmaneuvered by the American soldiers. 

Lieut. Colonel Casey was now in command. Including 
Pickett's Company his force numbered 4G1 officers and men. 
The British fleet, under Captain Hornby, comprised three 
ships, with 62 guns, and 975 men, part being Royal Engineers 
and Marines. 

Captain Hornby's orders from Governor Douglas had been 
to force a landing upon the island at once. Fortunately he 
was a wiser man than Governor Douglas, and did not attempt 
it; undoubtedly it would have been successful, for he had a 
greatly superior force of sailors and marines, with the guns 
of his ships to cover the movement, but he knew that the at- 
tempt meant war, and wisely refrained. 

Very soon after the landing of Colonel Casey, Rear Admiral 
Baynes, commander in chief of her Majesty's navy on the Pa- 
cific coast, came in from a cruise to Esquimault, the naval sta- 
tion near Victoria. His flagship, the Ganges, of 84 guns and 
840 men, with her consort, the Pylades, of 21 guns and 325 
men, increased the British fleet to five men-of-war with 2,140 
men, seamen and marines, a very formidable force for those 

Colonel Casey, hearing of the arrival of Admiral Baynes, 
concluded to waive ceremony and pay that officer a visit. He 
wrote to Captain Alfred Pleasanton, at Fort Vancouver, un- 
der date of August 12th, 1859, that he invited Captain Hornby 
of the British licet to an interview, and, on his arrival in the 
camp, intimated a wish to have an interview with the admiral, 
saying that he would go down to Esquimault the next day for 
that purpose. The captain and the British commissioner with 
him seemed pleased with the suggestion. 



The next day, accompanied by Captain Pickett and by Mr. 
Campbell, the United States commissioner, Colonel Casey 
went down to Esquimault on the steamer Shubrick. He an- 
chored near the Ganges, the British flagship, and sent to 
the admiral a note by an officer asking for an interview on the 
Shubrick. The admiral declined the interview on the Ameri- 
can vessel, but stated he would receive the gentlemen on his 
own ship. Colonel Casey says: "I was of opinion that I had 
carried etiquette far enough in going twenty-five miles to see 
a gentleman who was disinclined to come one hundred yards to 
see me. The proposition which I intended to have made the 
admiral was this: .... that in case he, the admiral, 
would pass his word on honor that no threats should be made, 
or molestation given, by the force under his command, for the 
purpose of preventing Captain Pickett from carrying out the 
orders and instructions with which he is intrusted, I would 
recommend to the commanding general the withdrawal of the 
reinforcement which had landed on the island under my com- 
mand, and that affairs should so remain until the sovereign 
authorities should announce their intentions." He closed his 
dispatch by saying: "I have so far had no further intercourse 
with any of the officers of the fleet The Brit- 
ish have a sufficient naval force here to effectually blockade 
this island when they choose. I don't know what the inten- 
tions of the British naval authorities with respect to this 
island are. I shall resist any attack they may make upon my 

Colonel Casey's attempt to avoid a hostile collision between 
the forces of two friendly nations was well meant, but to visit 
a foreign port in an armed vessel and seek an interview with 
a flag officer under the circumstances was an extraordinary 
step to take, and it was promptly disapproved by his military 
superiors. It was a case where zeal outran discretion. 

Although Admiral Bnynes would not meet Colonel Casey 
in the informal manner suggested by that officer, ho did a wise 
thing in immediately countermanding Governor Douglas's 
warlike and menacing orders to force a landing. This judi- 
cious action immediately relieved the strain and both parties 



tacitly agreed to await further instructions from their govern- 

By this time the news of what had occurred had reached 
Washington, and the President, seeing that some decisive 
steps must be taken to prevent collision between the forces 
thus brought face to face on a question of national rights, con- 
ceived the idea of sending the Commander in Chief of the 
Army to the scene of difficulty with full powers to act as the 
emergency might require. 

Under date of September 16th, 1859, the Secretary of War 
wrote to General Winfield Scott: 

"Sir, — The President has been much gratified at the alacrity 
with which you have responded to his wish that you would 
proceed to Washington Territory to assume the immediate 
command, if necessary, of the United States forces on the Pa- 
cific coast." The letter then goes on to recite the situation, 
and continues: "It is impossible, at this distance from the 
scene, and in ignorance of what may have already transpired 
on the spot, to give you positive instructions as to your course 
of action. Much, very much, must be left to your discretion, 
and the President is happy to believe that discretion could not 
be entrusted to more competent hands." 

After expressing his desire to preserve the peace and for 
adjudication of the difficulties by the two governments, he 
says: "It would be desirable to provide, during the inter- 
vening period, for a joint occupation of the island, under 
such guards as will secure its tranquillity without interfer- 
ing with our rights. The President perceives no objection 
to the plan proposed by Captain Hornby, of Her Majesty's 
ship Tribune, to Captain Pickett; it being understood that 
Captain Pickett's company shall remain on the island to 
resist, if need be, the incursions of the northern Indians on 
our frontier settlements, and to afford protection to American 
citizens resident thereon. In any arrangement which may be 
made for joint occupation, American citizens must be placed 
on a footing equally favorable with that of British subjects." 
The letter closes with the confident hope that, if a collision 
should occur before the general's arrival, he will not suffer the 
national honor to be tarnished. 



General Scott sailed from New York for the Isthmus of 
Panama a few days after receiving his instructions. The pas- 
sage to Panama, and up the Pacific coast to San Francisco, oc- 
cupied nearly a month, and a few days more were required for 
the journey to Puget sound. So it was October 20th when he 
appeared upon the scene. In the meantime the status quo had 
been maintained by the American and British troops. The 
English ships cruised off the island, or lay with their guns 
bearing on the United States camp, where the troops were 
kept busy building breastworks and redoubts, and mounting 
guns taken from the Massachusetts, an armed transport of the 
Quartermaster Department. 

Immediately upon his arrival, General Scott put himself 
in communication with Governor Douglas and Admiral 
Baynes; and after several conferences these experienced offi- 
cers entered into an agreement, afterwards approved by both 
governments, by which a joint occupation of the islands of 
the archipelago should be maintained by the military forces 
of both governments until the questions in dispute should be 
finally settled. The agreement provided: 1st, that each power 
should maintain on the island of San Juan a force of not more 
than one hundred men; 2nd, that neither power should exer- 
cise exclusive jurisdiction; 3rd, that all the affairs of the 
island, civil and military, should be jointly administered by 
the two commanding officers; 4th, that full protection and 
equal rights of person and property were guaranteed to all 
the people, both British and American. 

This agreement went into force at once. Captain Tickett 
and his company formed the United States garrison, which 
was located at the south end of San Juan island, and a de- 
tachment of the Royal Marines under Captain Bazalgette, 
landing from the British ships March 20th, I860, took post at 
the north end of the island. Colonel Casey, with his troops, 
had withdrawn; and the British fleet no longer threatened the 
camp with its guns, but returned to Esquimault harbor. 

In the eastern United States, already the mutterings of the 
great storm of the rebellion were heard, and day by day events 
marched toward the' outbreak in April, 1861. Pickett re- 


mained at his post in San Juan until he was swept away by 
the tidal wave of sentiment that took him with other Southern 
born officers into rebellion. Colonel Silas Casey remained true 
to the flag, and rose to high rank in our army. 

During the war of the rebellion the San Juan matter, like 
many others, was pushed into the background by the supreme 
question of the national existence, and the matter of settle- 
ment was not taken up by this government until 1871. From 
18G1 until 1865, the garrison was from the 9th Infantry and 
the 2nd Artillery. Immediately after the war, it was from 
the 23rd and 21st Infantry; and the last named regiment, of 
which I was at one time major, furnished the garrison at the 
time of the final settlement of the matter in dispute. 

My esteemed friend, Captain Ebstein, of the 21st Infantry, 
who was at one period of the joint occupation stationed at 
San Juan island, says in reference to the practical working 
of the agreement entered into by Admiral Baynes and General 
Scott: "The duties of the two commanding officers were mani- 
fold and delicate; they were not only military commanders, 
but also judges, notaries, customs officials, land commission- 
ers, registrators, and even coroners. There was no other au- 
thority on the islands of the archipelago, than that of these 
officers. The population exclusive of the garrison was about 
600, nearly equally divided in national adherence. All British 
subjects were required to register their land claims at the Brit- 
ish camp, and in like manner American settlers made their 
registry at our camp. Breaches of the peace and misdemean- 
ors were tried before the commander of the power whose pro- 
tection the offender claimed. If the offense involved citizens 
of both nations, the two commanders sat in joint court. The 
punishments were imprisonment in the guard house, fine, or, 
in aggravated cases, banishment from the island. The inhab- 
itants paid no tax of any kind on articles brought from the 
British possessions. They had the choice of taking their prod- 
uct to either the British or American market, without paying 
duty, on the certificate of the commanding officer that the 
articles were the product of the island. Schools wore main- 
tained by private subscription. M 



To the credit of the various commanding officers on both 
sides, it may be stated that they performed their difficult and 
complicated duties with the greatest care and impartiality, 
and without the slightest degree of friction, during the thir- 
teen years that this anomalous condition of affairs was main- 
tained. The personal and social relations of the officers and 
their families were the most amicable, and the enlisted men 
fraternized as though they belonged to one and the same 

We come now to the final settlement of the difference con- 
cerning which Sir Robert Peel once said in the House of Com- 
mons that it must, unless speedily terminated, involve both 
countries in the necessity to an appeal to arms. And there 
seemed to be no escape from this when we remember the atti- 
tude of the two governments as expressed by Lord John Rus- 
sell and Mr. Cass. Lord Russell, under date of August 24th, 
1859, thus wrote to Lord Lyons, the envoy to the United States: 
"Her Majesty's government must, therefore, under any circum- 
stances, maintain the right of the British Crown to the island 
of San Juan. The interests at stake in connection with the re- 
tention of that island are too important to admit of compro- 
mise, and your lordship will consequently bear in mind that 
whatever arrangement as to the boundary line is finally ar- 
rived at, no settlement of the question will be accepted by Her 
Majesty's government which does not provide for the island 
of San Juan being reserved to the British Crown." 

Mr. Cass, our Secretary of State, replied, October 20th, 
1859: "If this declaration is to be insisted upon, it must termi- 
nate the negotiation at its very threshold; because this gov- 
ernment can permit itself to enter into no discussion with that 
of Great Britain, or any other power, except upon terms of 
perfect equality." Later, on February 4th, 1860, he says: 
"Since, therefore, Lord John Russell repeats with groat frank- 
ness his original declaration, that 'no settlement of the ques- 
tion will be accepted by Her Majesty's government which does 
not provide for the island of San Juan being reserved to the 
British Crown,' I am directed by the President to state with 
equal frankness that the United States will, under all circum- 
stances, maintain their right to the island in Controversy until 



the question of title to it shall be determined by some amicable 
arrangement between the parties." 

When a deadlock like this occurs, settlement is only possi- 
ble by one of four methods, surrender of rights, compromise, 
arbitration, or war. Surrender of rights was not to be thought 
of by two proud nations; compromise had proved to be impos- 
sible; war should be the last resort of kindred and Christian 
nations. Arbitration seemed an honorable and pleasant way 
out of the difficulty. On the 10th of December, 1860, Lord 
Lyons proposed settlement by arbitration, proposing the king 
of the Netherlands, or the king of Sweden and Norway, or 
the president of the Federal Council of Switzerland, as the 

None of these parties named proved agreeable to the United 
States, the War of the Rebellion came on, and the matter 
slept until more settled times came to the country. The treaty 
of Washington settled the difficulties between the United 
States and Great Britain growing out of the Alabama claims 
and other international questions having their birth during the 
War of the Rebellion. It was signed May 8th, 1871, and its 
34th and 35th articles provide that "whereas the government 
of Her Britannic Majesty claims that such boundary line [refer- 
ring to the one we are now discussing, and describing it accord- 
ing to the treaty of 1846] should, under the terms of the treaty 
above recited, be run through the Rosario Straits, and the 
Government of the United States claims that it should be run 
through the Canal de Uaro, it is agreed that the respective 
claims of the government of Her Britannic Majesty and of the 
government of the United States shall be submitted to the 
arbitration and award of His Majesty the Emperor of Ger- 
many, who, having regard to the above-mentioned article of 
the said treaty, shall decide thereupon finally and without 
appeal which of these claims is most in accordance with the 
true interpretation of the treaty of June 15, 1816. The award 
of His Majesty the Emperor of Germany shall be consider* d 
as absolutely final and conclusive, and full effect shall bo given 
to such award without any objection, evasion, or delay what- 
soever." Other articles provide for each part y's submitting its 
case either in writing or by counsel. 



The officers of my regiment stationed on San Juan island 
were informed by the British officers that they considered the 
case won, because, the Crown Prince of Germany having mar- 
ried a daughter of Queen Victoria, his influence and that of 
his wife would be brought to bear on the Emperor William to 
induce him in his final judgment to favor the English claim. 
Time went on, the respective memorials of the governments 
were presented, and the arguments made before the three emi- 
nent judges of the Imperial Court of Berlin. The English offi- 
cers on the island and the officials in Victoria grew more and 
more confident of an award in their favof; but one day it was 
whispered abroad that a commission of German lawyers were 
in Victoria asking questions of English shipmasters. From 
the extensive coal fields of British Columbia, as Xanaimo, on 
Vancouver island, in particular, fleet after fleet of English 
ships sail with coal for Pacific ports in the United States, and 
for Japan, China, Australia, and the islands of the South Sea. 
Now these deeply laden vessels must be taken to sea through 
the best channel, the main ship channel; and it can be confi- 
dently stated that no English shipmaster would have held his 
warrant an hour after it was known to the underwriters that 
he had failed to take the ship through the main channel, the 
Canal de Haro, with its six and a half miles of unbroken width 
and ISO fathoms of depth, but had chosen the Rosario strait, 
with the entrance to its waters obstructed by several rocky 
islets making its safe navigation by sailing vessels dependent 
on favorable winds and tides, 

In answer to the plain question of the commissioners, 
"What do you consider the main channel through the San Juan 
archipelago?'' the reply of the English ship captains was in 
every case, I believe, "The Canal de Haro; ? ' for, however much 
national feelings may have inclined them to favor the British 
claim to Kosario strait, professional pride would compel the 
true answer. 

After these facts became known, the British officers were 
less sanguine of a favorable award, and I think they were not 
surprised when it was made in our favor. 

On the 2ist of October, 3 872, the Emperor William made 
Ins award, lie said: "After hearing the report made to us bj 



the experts and jurists summoned by us upon the contents of 
the interchanged memorials and their appendices, we have 
decreed the following award: Most in accordance with the 
true interpretations of the treaty concluded on the 15th of 
June, 1846, between the governments of Her Britannic Majesty 
and of the United States of America, is the claim of the gov- 
ernment of the United States that the boundary line between 
the territories of Her Britannic Majesty and the United States 
should be drawn through the Haro Channel/' 

The news of the award must have been sent from Berlin 
by the British minister at once and communicated instantly 
to the authorities in Victoria, and through them to the officer 
in command of the British camp. on the island. The first in- 
formation our officers received was a message from Capt. 
Bazalgette, who for thirteen years had held the British com- 
mand. The messenger arrived in the American camp soon 
after reveille. Capt. Bazalgette said he would evacuate the 
island at once, in accordance with the terms of the award, 
notice of which he had just received. 

Captain (then lieutenant) Ebstein of my regiment, to whom 
I have before referred, started at once with a small detach- 
ment of mounted men and rode rapidly over the sixteen miles 
that separated the two camps. His instructions from his com- 
manding officer were to receipt for any buildings or other 
property the British officers might desire to turn over. He 
also had with him a flag to run up on the flagstaff after the 
British should have taken their departure. He says: "As I 
rode into the camp, a number of sailors and marines were en- 
gaged, under the direction of an officer, in cutting down the 
handsome flagstaff which stood in the middle of the parade 
ground. In a few moments it fell with a loud crash. The 
ostensible reason given for this act was that the stall' was 
needed for a spar on board one of the naval vessels then lying 
at the dock waiting to transport the troops. These were the 
Scout and the Petrel, British men-of-war. A young subaltern, 
however, with perhaps more candor than judgment, put it 
more correctly when he said, 'You know we could never have 
any other (lag float from a staff that had borne the cross of 
St. George.' " 



Capt. Ebstein ran up his flag on a telegraph pole, and the 
few Americans present greeted it with hearty cheers as the 
English soldiers sailed away to Victoria. 

In the meanwhile the information had been received by onr 
government and communicated to Gen. E. S. Canby, command- 
ing the Department of the Columbia, with headquarters in 
Portland, Oregon, who immediately took steps to .send a de- 
tachment of troops to San Juan to salute the British flag, and 
pay the other usual honors on the occasion of an evacuation; 
but the hasty departure of the English garrison had prevented 
this act of courtesy on our part. Circumstances indicated 
that this pleasant duty would have devolved upon me. I have 
always regretted that I could not have been personally asso- 
ciated with the final act in a series of events which had com- 
menced with the first boundary treaty ninety years before. 

Many anxious hours had been spent by statesmen, English 
and American, over the questions raised by national and local 
jealousies and rivalries, and the conflicting claims of colonies, 
companies of traders, states and provinces, combined with an 
uncertain geographical knowledge of the country, and an ig- 
norance of its commercial, agricultural and political value, as 
the boundary line slowly marched from the Atlantic to the Pa- 
cific ocean, through almost a century of time. The disputes 
had more than once threatened to end in war. It was the 
good sense of military commanders that opened the way for a 
peaceful settlement. It was the word of a soldier king that 
put the vexed question forever at rest. 

More and more, thoughtful men expect that, in the settle- 
ment of international difficulties, nations should arbitrate 
whenever possible, fight only when they must. 

But I would have my friends understand that war is not 
an unmixed evil. Indeed it has more than once proved a 
blessing to a people. 

"War is honorable in those 
Who do their native right maintain, 
Whose swords an iron barrier rear 
Between the lawless spoiler and the weak." 

In onr own country we are a better, a stronger people from 
the necessity laid upon us to open the continent, step by step, 



54 Minnesota historical society collections. 

to the progress of civilization, from New England to the 
Golden Gate, by the strong hand of the military power. Much 
of cruelty, much of injustice, has marked our dealings with 
the native race, the Indian tribes whom we found in possession 
of the land: and for these acts I have no word of excuse, for, 
next to slavery, the treatment in many cases of the native race 
is the darkest page in American history. But blessings have 
followed in the train of war. The War of the Kevolution made 
us a nation of freemen. The War of 1812 gave us confidence 
in ourselves and gained us the respect of England and of Eu- 
rope. The war with Mexico,' although in my judgment not justi- 
fiable, opened new fields to American enterprise. The War 
of the Rebellion made us what we were not before, one people 
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from the Lakes to the Gulf 
of Mexico. 

I would not fire the hearts of the young with military ardor 
for the lust of glory. I would not have them forget the dark 
side of war. But I would have them so filled with love of 
country that they would willingly follow in the footsteps of 
their fathers, and if the emergency shall demand the sacrifice 
of life, freely give it, that the blessings which follow in the 
train of a righteous war, freedom for persons, property, and 
conscience, and the reign of law, may be the heritage of those 
who follow them. 




In describing the Ojibway people as seen during more than 
twenty years of missionary work among them, I cannot claim 
infallibility for the impressions I am about to record, but only 
that they appeared so to me. It should be stated also that the 
names Ojibway and Chippewa are exactly synonymous, the 
latter being a more anglicized form of the same word. 


In 1873 the local distribution of the Ojibways in Minnesota 
was not much different from what it is now. There were S00 
or 900 about Mille Lacs; about 1,200 at Red lake; about 1,000 
around Leech lake; and about 000 around Cass lake and lake 
Winnibigoshish. At Gull lake about 200 lingered who had not 
been removed to the White Earth reservation, and there were 
600 or 800 scattered through the immense pine forests 
stretching from Winnibigoshish, by Sandy lake, to the North- 
ern Pacific railroad; while at White Earth about 1,700 were lo- 
cated, very largely French mixed-bloods. Those who lived at 
White Earth had been removed there within five years, mostly 
from Gull lake and Crow Wing; but the mixed bloods had 
come from many different parts of northern Minnesota and 

The Pembina band were then living at Pembina river, and 
the Bois Forts or Lake Vermilion Indians where they still 

The principal changes since that time have been that per- 
haps 300 of the Mille Lacs band aud the remaining 200 Gull 

•Head nt the monthly meeting of the BxtCUtlVft Council. November 8. 



Lake Indians have removed to White Earth; and about 300 
Leech Lake Indians and 100 Cass Lakers, and perhaps 1.000 
more French Canadian mixed-bloods, who had been living 
scattered among the whites in Minnesota and Wisconsin, have 
come to the same place. Also a band of Pembinas, largely 
mixed-bloods, removed to the White Earth reservation about 
twenty-four years ago. 

On the White Earth reservation more than three-fourths 
of the present 3,000 population are mixed-bloods, mostly 
French. At Red Lake Agency and at Leech lake there are 
also many. About Leech lake there are perhaps a hundred 
descendants of the negro Bungo; nearly all these are very 
muscular, and some have been .of unusually fine physique. 
The mixed-bloods generally are inferior to the full-bloods 
morally, and I think also mentally and physically. However, 
as they speak French and generally English also, they have 
advantage over the full-blood O jib ways. It should be said, 
moreover, that there are some mixed-bloods who are as good 
and as nice in every way as any white people. 

The beautiful and fertile land of the White Earth reserva- 
tion, and the rations given by the United States government 
for from one to five years to each member of the families who 
would remove there, since the treaty of 1SS9, have been the 
inducements which have influenced those who came, both 
mixed-bloods and Indians. In addition, they had houses built 
for them, land broken, stoves, wagons, sleighs, cows and oxen 
given them, and many other inducements, enabling them to 
make a good start in life. 


But the Indian is very strongly attached to his old home, 
where he was born; and, unlike the white man, he generally 
lives and dies in his native village. lie knows every tree and 
pond for miles around, and he knows he can make a living 
there for he has always done so; but he has a dread of going 
elsewhere, even to far more fertile land, to try to make his 
living, for that is launching out on, to him, an unknown sea. 
Hence the offer of four or five years' rations of. to him, most 
luxurious food, and of oxen, plows, wagons, and everything 




to begin farming with, has not tempted the Ojibways in large 
numbers from their native lakes, as Mille Lacs, Leech lake, 
Cass lake, and others. The Ojibway reasons to himself: "I 
have here an inexhaustible supply of fish; I have venison, wild 
rice, and other things; but if I go on the prairie, where there 
are none of these things, and where I must plow and work for 
a living, perhaps I shall have a hard time. So perhaps I had 
better not leave the fish, nor let these offers tempt me." 

The Ojibway always, in his natural state, lives on lakes or 
rivers. He is a fish Indian, and draws his subsistence largely 
from the water. Formerly he lived on other flesh. Old In- 
dians still living tell of the countless herds of buffalo, moose, 
elk, reindeer, and other animals,. which filled the country in 
their young days, and which they say were in such vast num- 
bers that they did not think then it would ever be possible by 
any effort of man to diminish them. They tell of the moose 
yarding together in those days, in winters when the snow was 
very deep, in droves of hundreds, and of their going and killing 
them all with their axes. But with the nearer approach of 
the white man the game was driven off, and the Ojibway be- 
came of necessity a fish Indian. The fish could not be driven 
off like the buffalo. In their natural state, fish is about three- 
fourths of their living. It may be proper here to say that 
when the earliest Indians were removed to White Earth, in 
1868, there were still a few buffalo to be seen on the prairies 
there, and for some years afterward. 


In appearance the Ojibway is a fine looking man, especially 
when living in the freedom of his native forests, and before 
he has been enfeebled by the vices he has learned from wh>te 
men. Many are quite tall, the tallest I have seen being frum 
C feet and 4 inches to G feet S inches. They have well devel- 
oped chests and sinewy frames. Their limbs are not nearly 
so heavy as those of many white men. They very generally 
have small and beautifully shaped hands; indeed, from their 
hands one would take them to be of nature's aristocracy. The 
men have an erect, graceful, and easy carriage, ami a beautiful 
springy step and motion in their native wilds, where they 
walk and look like the lords of creation. In their beauty of 


motion in walking the men far surpass our race; there is no 
swinging of the arms, or other awkward motions, but grace 
and a beautiful poise and carriage of the body. 

As is well known, they have abundant thick and strong 
hair. I can only recall about two Indians of the whole Ojib- 
way nation who are bald, and they only partially so. Nor does 
their hair early turn gray, as often with us; this change comes 
only in extreme old age. When approaching the age of eighty 
years, an Ojibway's hair turns gray, but not much before. 
Often at the age of seventy-five, their hair is as black and 
thick as at twenty. Their hair never turns quite white, so 
far as I can remember. 

The Ojibway man has usually beautiful, white, even teeth, 
till far past middle age, although he never cleans them and 
takes no care of them whatever. The voice is usually high 
pitched and resonant; the eye black and liquid. The man 
does not usually get stout as he grows old; he rather, if any- 
thing, dries up. It is rare to see a fat Indian man, except 
when it has been caused by excessive drinking. Their lean- 
ness, as they grow older, has been accounted for, in my mind, 
by their incessant spitting from their great use of tobacco, and 
by the spare diet to which they are usually condemned. 

The women are in many respects a great contrast to the 
men. Instead of the beautiful springing step, they trudge 
along with a heavy, plodding tread, devoid of all beauty of 
motion. They have not a particle of the grace in motion of 
their white sisters. Their heavy gait I have accounted for in 
my own mind by the heavy packs and burdens which for gener- 
ations they have had to bear. Many of the women have 
packed, all their lives, burdens of two hundred pounds. With 
this continued for centuries, it is no wonder that their step 
is heavy. The Ojibway man, in his native state, rarely carries 
any pack, if there be a woman along to do it, unless there Li 
so much that both must pack. He puts it upon the woman, 
while he strides along in front, magnificently, with his gun. 
Both parties seem to look on that as natural and proper. 
Sometimes when a man marries a young woman, he puts his 
own pack on her in addition to her own and BOOO breaks her 
down. In this, as in nearly all here written. 1 am speaking 



of the heathen Indian; for when they become Christians, they 
view things in a very different light, and their practice ap- 
proaches our own. The woman always walks behind, never 
by the side of a man. Often on the top of her enormous pack, 
if the articles be bulky, as when moving her wigwam, etc., from 
place to place, one can see the baby perched high above her 
head, securely tied to keep it from falling from its perilous 
height. On a journey the woman packs the birch bark for the 
wigwam, the rush mats to sleep on, the cooking utensils, the 
food. Sometimes I have seen the woman invert the heavy 
canoe, weighing SO or 100 pounds, over her head, and carry it 
for miles and miles over all portages, while her husband took 
the light traps. The women generally have very large waists. 
In middle life they are usually quite stout and fleshy, and I 
think would average more in weight than the men. They 
seem to be just as expert with the axe, and as strong for all 
kinds of labor. 

At Red Lake the women especially, but also the men, are, 
for some reason unknown to me, exceedingly tall. The Red 
Lake Indians are by far taller than the other Ojibways, which 
is the more remarkable as they have not lived at Red Lake 
very long. Many of the men there are 6 feet 4 inches in stat- 
ure. I have known some so tall as 6 feet 8 inches. I know 
considerable numbers of old women there who must be about 
5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall. It would be interesting to know 
what there is in the soil, water, or food, which has so soon 
produced such a tall race. 


It is strange that, considering the hardships of their lives, 
insanity is extremely rare among the Ojibways. Only once, 
along in the 70's or SO's, during an Indian payment at Mille 
Lacs, when many hundreds were collected, did I see an Indian 
who seemed to be insane, and he not very violent. A crowd of 
young men and boys were around him, tensing and mocking 
him, and he was striking at them. That is the only crazy man 
I happened to see, or to know of. A young mixed-blood man 
from White Earth, nearly white, was in an insane asylum for 
some time; also a woman from Leech lake was under BUCh care 
for a time. Also a middle-aged man wandered off into the 



woods in a semi-demented state and died. I have known only 
two feeble-minded or idiotic, one a young man of twenty-three 
years, whose idiocy was caused before his birth by his mother's 
seeing for the first time a railroad train, which rushed out at 
her from a cut on the Northern Pacific railroad. She fell in a 
dead faint and lay thus for some time, and her son is an idiot. 
It is also a matter of thankfulness that, considering the hard- 
ships, suicide is extremely rare. There has been only one 
case in twenty-five years, this being an elderly woman who 
hung herself at the gate in front of her door, after a family 


It may be interesting to compare a first look at the Ojib- 
ways with what one sees to-day. It was in 1873 on the White 
Earth reservation. Many of the Indians then dressed in the 
old Indian garb of blankets, cotton leggings, and moccasins. 
Now there are only a few old men who are so dressed, though 
all who can get them still prefer the moccasins. The White 
Earth Indians were then rapidly rising in all respects, under 
the influence of the mission and the admirable management 
of the agent, E. P. Smith. There was a little church well at- 
tended; but old Indian habits, as might be expected, were still 
strong. Sometimes they would go from the church, at the 
conclusion of service, to the Indian dance which was in full 
blast not far from the church door with all its drumming, 
whooping, and jumping up and down. There was thus the 
mixture of Christianity and heathenism which might be ex- 

That winter there came from Red lake, where they were- 
all at that time wild men, about sixty old grand medicine men, 
in January, when the thermometer was about forty degrees 
below zero, bringing the big medicine drum with them, and 
sleeping out about four times on the way, 80 or 00 miles. Their 
coming created a greater sensation than would that of Ta- 
derewski to your city. The big drum was brought out, with 
all the old fellows from Red lake singing around it so loud 
that their voices could be heard, it would seem, lor miles; ami 
soon most of the inhabitants of White Earth, discarding the 
garments of civilization which (hoy had laioly put on. and 




painting themselves once more as wild men, were whooping 
and dancing around the drum, telling stories about the Sioux 
they had scalped, and having a veritable orgy which made 
night and day hideous for weeks. Thus the infant Christianity 
and the infant civilization of the place seemed for the time to 
be swallowed up and lost. The old Red Lake medicine men 
ate so many dogs in continual medicine feasts, that, as Paul 
Beaulieu wittily said, they went home barking. 

In the fall of 1873 I first saw the Leech Lake Indians. It 
was annual payment time, and there were perhaps a thousand 
or more assembled in the public square. They were all, so 
far as I can remember, wild blanket Indians, with faces 
painted, long scalp locks, and feathers; they were wrapped 
in blankets of green, white, blue, red, and all colors. It was 
a cold October day, the wind blowing and some snow flying, 
so that we felt the cold in thick overcoats; and I was surprised 
to see great numbers of little children, running around every- 
where, entirely naked, or some of them with only a thin cotton 
shirt flying loose in the bitter wind, affording really no protec- 
tion at all. Now, most of the Leech Lake Indians wear citi- 
zens' clothes. 

In 1876 I first saw the Red Lake Indians. On all the large 
stones about their village there were Offerings of tobacco, laid 
there for the gods who were supposed by them to inhabit those 
rocks. They lived in bark wigwams, and there were many 
fields of corn. They were all wild blanket Indians, fantastic- 
ally painted. We had gone td speak to them about founding 
a mission, and had taken along with us some Christian Indians 
from White Earth who were considered the very best speakers, 
to speak to them on the subject. Besides we had a present 
of some sacks of flour, some pork, and tea, to dispose them to 
a favorable hearing. They filed in, dressed in gay colored 
blankets, and with all their Indian paint and bravery. They 
eagerly seized the present of provisions and carried it off; bur. 
as often happens, they cared nothing for the eloquence we had 
brought them, and indeed would not listen to it. When they 
had got the provisions, they wanted nothing more. Now. 
among the 1,200 Red Lake Indians there are few blanketa to 
be seen, and most of the scalp-locks have hern cul off. 


An intelligent American employee, who lived among them 
about ten years before that time and had married one of their 
women, told me that when he was there they had a custom, 
both men and women, of plastering their naked backs in the 
summer time all over with white clay, which dried and hard- 
ened and adhered to the skin, and that upon the clay they 
painted all kinds of curious figures, so that it looked very 
strange to see them stalking around all summer with those 
painted figures on their backs. That was about thirty years 
ago; now they are mostly dressed like other people, the change 
in that, as in other respects, having been rapid. 


In 1S73 nearly all the Ojibw r ays everywhere, except the 
few T newly removed to White Earth, lived winter and summer 
in birch bark wigwams. Now, nearly all of them have built 
for themselves, or have had built for them by the United 
States government, one-roomed log cabins, in which they win- 
ter; but, in front. of these, nearly every family puts up in 
summer an old style birch bark wigwam, in which they pass 
the summer, returning to the log house when the cold weather 
sets in. They properly prefer the wigwam for its greater cool- 
ness, better circulation of air and greater cleanness. There 
are still, however, some families who from preference winter 
in birch bark wigwams. That would be to us a life of extreme 
and intolerable suffering from cold. The strips of birch bark 
are laid loosely on, and there are great chinks everywhere 
through which one can put his hand, and there is the open top. 
The family sit round the fire in a circle, on rush mats made by 
the women from rushes which grow in the lakes; and as long 
as the fire is kept up one's face is warm while facing the lire, 
but, if it be cold weather, one's back, opposite the open chinks, 
is never comfortably warm. It would seem tbat it is only 
because they have become so used to suffering extreme cold 
in these wigwams, through so many centuries, that they ever 
survive a winter. They do not complain of it, however, and 
do not seem to mind it. It is certain that from long habit and 
from heredity they can endure a degree of cold that to ns 
would be intolerable. 

On approaching a wigwam, the custom is to raise the Wan 
ket which hangs over the doorway and go In without Asking 



permission or knocking as with us. Everyone seems privi- 
leged to go in by day or night. If the inmates look on the 
newcomer with favor they say when he raises the blanket door 
and looks in, "Nind ubimin, nind ubimin (We are at home, we 
are at home)," which is a welcome, though nothing is thought 
on either side if silence is preserved. The best seat is con- 
sidered to be that directly opposite the opening or door, be- 
hind the fire. That is the seat and bed of the master of the 
house and his wife, while along the sides is the place of the 
children and others. If the master of the house wishes to 
treat the newcomer with great respect, he moves from his seat 
on the mat, saying to the visitor in cheerful words to sit there, 
smoothing out the mat for him, and brushing away any dust, 
so that it will be clean. Around the fire in the center, and at 
a distance of perhaps two feet from it, are placed sticks as 
large as one's arm, in a square form, guarding the fire; and 
it is a matter of etiquette not to put one's feet nearer the fire 
than that boundary. One or more pots or kettles are hung 
over the fire on the crotch of a sapling. In the sides of the 
wigwam are stowed all the clothing, food, cooking utensils, 
and other property of the family, although the space available 
is extremely small. 


The owner of the lodge inquires of his visitor the news: 
and the visitor is expected to tell anything interesting that 
has happened, especially if, as often is true, the wigwam is the 
only one for five or ten miles distance. He tells, not the gen- 
eral news of the world, of which neither the host nor the vis- 
itor knows anything, or indeed would be particularly inter- 
ested to hear, but anything that has happened among the In- 
dians, as deaths, sickness, or what the other families of In- 
dians known to both are doing. If he comes from a strange 
village, as from Leech lake or Red lake, he tells the news of 
that village, the councilings that are going on. the subjects 
that are being discussed. Generally each Indian man. and 
often the wife, knows individually the men and women of all 
the other Indian villages within fifty or a hundred miles ami 
is interested in all. The coming of a visitor is therefore like B 
newspaper, by which the host posts himself to date, on all 



that is going on. The Indians have a great deal of curiosity, 
and like to know all that is happening. Although a man may 
be out with his family, hunting, perhaps ten miles from any 
other human beings, he keeps a mental register of the position 
of every other man and family, and seems to be able to tell 
just where each one is, no matter how far in the heart of the 
wilderness he is buried, or what he is doing. The probable 
nearness or remoteness of the annual payment is always a sub- 
ject of interest, and generally that is the first thing inquired 

Are the Indians silent and reserved in their domestic life? 
Just the reverse. There is continual laughter, and jests flying 
all round the wigwam from the time they wake in the morning 
till the last one goes to sleep. As long as they have anything to 
eat, and if no one is very sick, they are as cheerful and happy 
as can be. The laughter and droll remarks pass from one to 
the other, a continual fusillade all round. The old woman says 
something funny; the children take it up, and laugh at it; all 
the others repeat it, each with some embellishment, or adding 
some ludicrous feature, and thus there is continual merriment 
all day and all evening long. They have the advantage of us 
in having the cheerful fire shedding its light and warmth' upon 
them instead of stoves; and there being no chairs or seats, 
they have an easier position than we, reclining any way they 


In the center of the wigwam, the little children go stagger- 
ing round, just beginning to walk, whose mishaps and falls 
furnish endless merriment to the other children and to all. 
They are either entirely naked or wear only a cotton shirt 
reaching to the hips, once white but now black, as it seems 
never to be washed. This little one, with its bright black 
eyes and dirty face, stumbles in a droll way over the legs of 
those reclining; then its father takes it and plays with it. and 
fondles it a long time. Then it gets hungry and goes and takes 
a pull at its mother's breast, and this it keeps up till three 
or four years of age; even after a younger baby has come, the 
mother nurses both together. Sometimes i have seen the old 
grandmother, long past child-bearing, take and nurse the large 
child at her breast; and from the persistence and diligence 

: V. 


with which it worked, its wants seemed to be relieved. The 
father is just as fond of his little children, and fondles them 
just as much, as any white father. 


Take it altogether, life is very happy in the wigwam, so 
long as hunger does not invade it. With food in abundance, 
life seems to be a continual feast, a merry-making long. 
None of them seem to have anything to do, excepting the wife 
or the old woman. To prepare a meal, if it be in winter, one 
of these goes outside and from somewhere brings in the frozen 
fish. She deftly cleans off the scales, removes the entrails, 
and cuts the fish into pieces, which she puts in the pot over 
the fire, until enough for a meal .has been put in. Then, if 
they have tea, that great luxury, as it is considered by the 
Indians, is provided. If in addition they have flour, hot bread 
is baked, and a perfect meal, according to their ideas, is pro- 
duced. The woman stirs up the dough in a tin dish, without 
kneading; then sets it up slantwise in the dish on the ashes, 
facing the fire; and turns occasionally the other side of the 
cake toward the fire, testing it by tapping it with her kunckle, 
until she sees it is done. Then she sets a plate of boiled fish 
before each one where he sits, pours out tea in a tin cup, and, 
if they have it, breaks off a liberal piece of warm bread. As 
there are no tables or chairs, the housekeeping is easy and 
simple, and the woman of the house can do most of it without 
rising from where she is sitting. Sometimes there is only fish, 
without anything else, and a few years ago that was consid- 
ered good enough; but the nearness of the whites has pro- 
duced the desire for a more varied diet, and tea and bread are 
now thought very necessary. Sometimes I have seen wildcat 
alone, or some other kind of flesh alone, if the head of the 
house had been hunting; and everybody seemed to be satis- 
fied with it. There is never any dessert, and they cart* nothing 
for pies or cakes. 

The visitor has his portion set before him, as well as the 
others; and formerly it was etiquette for him to say when the 
, dish was set before him, "Oongh ondjita," which might roughly 
be translated, "0, this goes to tho right spot" The Ojibways 
are very hospitable indeed. The visitor is always fed, is given 




a share without question, so long as they have anything them- 
selves. No matter if he be utterly lazy, never doing a stroke 
of work, or if he be a gambler and has just come from the game, 
he seems to have just as good a right to the food as any one 
who is there. A white visitor is expected to pay something, 
perhaps ten cents for the meal, or twenty-five cents, but the 
Indian gets it as a matter of course. Sometimes, when they 
wish to pay great respect to the visitor, a white cotton cloth 
about two feet square is spread on the mat where he sits, and 
upon it his food is placed. That is the tablecloth. 

There are no regular hours for eating; just whenever they 
get hungry and the good woman prepares something. In addi- 
tion to the articles enumerated above, there are often delicious 
wild rice, ducks, venison, potatoes, or boiled corn. There may 
be partridges, or moose or bear meat, or many delicacies. 
Often one will get as delicious and well-cooked a meal as could 
be found anywhere. They are all very good cooks. Especially 
do they excel in cooking fish, which they nearly always boil, 
but sometimes fry. I have heard excellent white women 
cooks, who had lived long among them, say that an Indian 
woman could give a turn to fish that no white woman could 
equal. After the meal is over the dishes are gathered up by 
the women, and set slantwise on their edges around the out- 
side of the wigwam until the next meal. 


Very often the man of the house, tired of doing nothing 
all day, takes his drum out of the bag that holds it, and set- 
tling himself begins to chant or sing, accompanying himself 
by beating his drum. He has many different kinds of chants, 
war songs, gambling songs, Sioux songs, songs of Sioux and 
Ojibways approaching each other with offers of peace, and 
many others. The chant is very intricate and beautiful. He 
sings it with his face directed upward, a sort of ecstatic look 
upon it, his mouth open, the drum between his knees, and a 
sort of shaking motion of his body. His voice is loud, high- 
pitched, and resonant; on a still evening it would seem that 
he could be heard for a mile. The little children look at him 
with a sort of entranced wonder, while the women ply their 
work of preparing food, tanning a skin. <>r making beadwork 



or moccasins. He, inspired by his own efforts, naturally feels 
himself to be a sort of superior being. At last he has sung 
all the chants he knows, chants which are extremely difficult 
for the most practiced musician to reduce to note or to repro- 
duce; and after a few final flourishes, he puts the drum away, 
and comparative silence once more reigns'. 


Gradually the young children begin to grow sleepy. The 
mother asks the little one, "Do you wish to lie down?" and 
holds up the little blanket or quilt which is to be its sole cov- 
ering. She wraps it round the child, and lays it down on the 
mat beside her, tucking the blanket in under its feet and over 
its head, and soon the little one is in the land of dreams. 
Gradually the older children, and then each member of the 
family, takes his or her blanket and a pillow, or makes a pil- 
low out of something, and lies down in the place he or she 
has previously occupied, all covering up the head, but gen- 
erally leaving the feet exposed against the bright fire. In- 
dians always sleep, winter and summer, with their heads 
tightly covered up. It seems that they could not go to sleep 
otherwise. White people living with them soon learn the 
same habit, which for six months of the year is a necessity. 
The breathing of the same air over and over again within the 
blanket does not seem to produce any bad results; and the 
warm breath retained adds much to the slender stock of heat. 
Each person sleeps alone except that husband and wife have 
one blanket. The day clothes are never removed, either by 
men, women, or children, though in old times they are said 
to have been removed. They are said to have formerly slept 
naked, rolled in their blanket only; but the example of the 
French voyageurs changed this. Even the moccasins sometimes 
are not removed. In a long sickness of weeks or months, it 
is common for the sick man to continue to wear his moccasins. 
The feet are at first exposed to the fire, and there is a row of 
them all round it; but as it dies down the sleepers instinc- 
tively draw them up under the blanket and tuck it in. Often 
every foot of the wigwam is covered with the prostrate bodies. 

In about an hour the lire of the winter evening dies down, 
and tbe air coming in through the open lop and the many 



chinks makes it almost as cold in the wigwam as out of doors. 
It may be anywhere from ten to thirty degrees below zero in- 
side and yet one blanket, old and worn at that, and not warm, 
is all that each sleeper has to cover him. Sometimes a thin 
quilt is spread in addition over the lower limbs, but one blan- 
ket seems to be the regular standard allowance, and is con- 
sidered enough. The wonder is that they survive a week of 
such cold, but they do not seem to mind it. The white traveller 
who has been hospitably taken in has his thick underclothing 
on, moccasins and arctic overshoes, coat and fur overcoat, fur 
cap pulled over his ears, a warm new blanket enveloping all, 
head and foot, so that his breath is kept in like all the rest to 
add the greater warmth; and yet he lies there shivering, un- 
able to sleep. At last in sheer desperation he starts up, and 
begins groping round the door of the wigwam and outside it, 
trying to find some wood to make a fire to relieve his suffer- 
ings. Yet all around him are sleeping calmly those who have 
on only a cotton shirt, cotton leggings, and the one thin blan- 
ket; not a tithe of the clothing he has. There is no doubt that 
such life, long continued, puts a strain on the constitution, 
especially of the young. Oftentimes when the traveller is feel- 
ing round for wood, a child will rise, throw aside its blanket, 
and stand there in the arctic temperature, coughing and again 
coughing. Its mother will rouse for a minute, and say, "My 
little son, are you cold?*' and the answer will come, "Yes, I am 
almost cold.'' Such a hard life, even though it be not consid- 
ered by them to be hard, along with other things, accounts for 
the high mortality among Indian children. 

I have never been refused admission, and the privilege of 
passing the night, in any wigwam. When one has been travel- 
ling all day through the virgin forest, in a temperature far be- 
low zero, and has not seen a house nor a human being and 
knows not where or how he is to pass the night, it is the most 
comforting sight in the whole world to see the glowing Column 
of light from the top of the wigwam of some wandering family 
out hunting, and to look in and sec i hat happy group bathed 
in the light and warmth of the life-giving lire. No prineely 
hotel in a great city can equal the blessedness of (hat wigwam, 
And no one. whether Ojibway or white, is o\er refused admia- 


sion; on the contrary, they are made heartily welcome, as long 
as there is an inch of space. 


The Ojibway women wear surprisingly little clothing, even 
in the coldest weather. A white cotton chemise, a calico dress, 
and a petticoat, are all, even in the coldest weather; and, of 
course, the blanket over all, for protection and ornament by 
day, and for a complete wardrobe by night. Besides there are 
mittens, not very thick, made by themselves, usually out of 
old pieces of cloth; and moccasins, with either socks or pieces 
of cloth wrapped round the foot to take the place of a stock- 
ing. Every winter many women, along with the men, start, 
say in January, to visit the Indians of another village a hun- 
dred miles off, either travelling on foot and packing their 
loads, or going with their ox teams and sleighs: but in any 
case they camp out every night, about four or five times each 
way. They enjoy every minute of it, and look forward to it 
with the keenest pleasure. White women, on the contrary, 
going over the road in a stage or covered sleigh, wrapped in 
furs and generally managing to get inside some sort of a house 
at night, where they sleep warm, are nearly always sick at the 
end of the route. To have gone with only the cotton chemise 
and calico dress and blanket, and to have slept out with only 
that covering, would have killed them. 

The Pembina band of Ojibways have a custom of putting 
out the fires, and sitting all day, and lying all night, in the cold, 
for a few days before setting out on a winter journey, in order 
apparently to toughen themselves to it. None of the other 
Ojibways do so. It may be that because the former are prairie 
Indians, and so are exposed to the more severe blasts and 
greater hardships, they have adopted this method. 

When an Indian is travelling and camps for the night, he 
always makes a lire, if possible, and if he has a tire and his 
blanket he considers that he is perfectly comfortable in any 
weather. If for any reason he cannot make a lire lie mi ls him- 
self up, like a ball, inside his blanket, resting only en his bark 
on the snow. 1 have known them to sleep oui of doors, 
without a fire, when tin* temperature was forty degrees be- 
low zero, in the coldest nights that i remember in Minnesota, 


and yet survive and continue the journey the next morning. 
As a general thing, however, the O jib way considers it pretty 
hard, and himself in bad case, if he cannot have a fire, in a 
cold night, sleeping out of doors. 

Although they are constantly travelling and exposed to 
blizzards far from home on the hunt, I cannot recall any who 
have frozen to death in the last twenty-five years, except one. 
He was one of our Indian catechists from Canada, in charge 
of the Cass Lake church and mission, George Johnson. On 
the night of the 26th of February, 1S97, he was frozen to death 
while hunting deer. The thermometer was perhaps forty de- 
grees below zero, and he was not a well man, having heart dis- 


From the time when spring opens, there is a constant suc- 
cession of events in Indian life, covering every week of the 
year until the winter sets in severely. These I cannot give in 
their exact order and sequence, and some of them I do not 
know. But, roughly speaking, there is first the arrival of the 
crow, about March 20th, the Indian's much looked for sign 
that grim winter is over, and that spring is at hand. When 
an Indian sees the crow, he knows that he has survived the 
starving time, winter, and that he will live; for he can always 
find abundant food during the spring and summer and fall 
months. The seeing of the first crow or hearing his call is 
therefore an occasion of great rejoicing, heralded everywhere. 
There is always anxious inquiry about that time, whether 
anyone has seen or heard a crow. Then follows moving to the 
sugar maple woods and the making of maple sugar by the 
women, while the men go trapping muskrats, and banting 
generally. The women are so fond of sugar-making that no 
power and no money could keep them from it. The children 
all run away from the schools about the 22nd of March and 
go too. All are overjoyed to be living once more ' under the 
greenwood tree." Often in their haste and anxiety thej move 
out six weeks too soon, if there comes a spell of mild weather, 
and wait there freezing and starving. The sap usually begins 
to run April 5th, and the buds eome out May 5th, when sugar- 
making is over. Some families at Leech lake, which seemi to 



be the great sugar-making place, make 2,000 pounds each. At 
Ked lake and White Earth they would not average over 500 
pounds a family. It is hard, exhausting work, owing to the 
antiquated methods they use, of deep pots and kettles instead 
of evaporators. No explanation can induce them to adopt the 
latter. Their moccasins, feet, and lower limbs, are sopping 
wet in the melting snows in the woods for a month or six 
weeks; and they sleep so, being wet all the time; night and 
day. They are very busy carrying sap in pails, chopping wood, 
and keeping up fires all night long. The exposure, poor food, 
and exhausting work, are a great strain on their constitutions, 
and a good many die every year. Especially those children 
who have been kept warm in schoolhouses all winter, catch 
colds from being continually wet and sleeping wet. and go 
off into quick consumption. I knew that a man who did chores 
for me had not had off his wet moccasins nor his feet dry once 
for six weeks, night or day, in spring. It seemed to do him 
no harm, but would have killed any white man. 

While the women are making maple sugar, the men go off 
fifty or a hundred miles to trap muskrats and other small 
animals. Very often they bring back about one hundred dol- 
lars' worth of furs apiece in a month's time. Then they are 
with their women for some time at the end of sugar-making. 
Then planting whatever potatoes they plant, and later corn, 
comes on. Then after an interval, the strawberries are ripe, 
and successively later the raspberries and blueberries. Next 
is the taking of birch bark from the trees, for wigwams and 
to make canoes; then hoeing the gardens; then pulling rushes 
from the lakes to make mats; then making canoes; then gath- 
ering wild rice, and afterward cranberries. All these imply 
journeys to the places where these happen to abound, as 
twenty or perhaps fifty miles and back. The exact succession 
of these events I cannot recall, but each has its own particular 
time; and, taken together, they occupy the entire year until 
cold weather. When one family starts for the particular 
berry that is ripe just then, or for the particular thing that 
should be done, that starts off all the others, as no One wishes 
to be left behind. This is heathen life; when they become 
Christians and farmers, this coutiuual wandering life becomei 
modified to a certain extent. 



When the cold weather begins in November each family 
usually starts off ten or twenty miles for a prolonged hunt. 
They stay out usually till January 1st, when the severe weather 
drives them home to their winter quarters. Very often a fam- 
ily claims a certain spot as their hunting ground, and they 
go to it year after year, and it is understood that no other 
family is to intrude on their territory. Of course they take 
the children and everything with them; and during that time 
they always live in birch bark wigwams. They kill deer, bear, 
moose, and many other animals, and live high, and make a 
great deal of money out of furs. 

Captain Wallace, who was killed at Wounded Knee, made 
an investigation of the Mille Lacs Indians, and found that 
from all sources, fnrs, wild rice, venison, etc., the Indians of 
Mille Lacs got hold of a great deal more money in the course 
of a year than the average white farmer. The same is doubt- 
less true of all the Indians. In the course of a year they have 
up to this time, from various sources, got hold of a great deal 
of money. It is a mistake to try to force them to be farmers 
only, as our government has heretofore seemed to try to do. 
Farming is too hard work, and means too long waiting for re- 
turns. They like very much better something which brings 
quick returns, as they had in their old life. 


From January 1st till the crows come, about March 20th, 
the Indian remains quiet in his log house, in his village, to 
which he has returned, with nothing particular to do. Then, 
if at all, especially towards spring, is his starving time. The 
snow is deep, there is no game to be got, the produce of the 
little fields has been eaten up, also the wild rice and the flesh 
that was brought from the hunt. If pains have not boon taken 
to lay in an ample stock of frozen fish in November, thero is 
apt to be hunger; for it is very hard or impossible to take 
fish now under the great depth of silow and ioo. The wife of 
one of our Indian clerygmon told me that, oftentimes in the 
village where they were missionaries, Cass Lake, no ono had 
anything to oat but themselves, sometimes for three days at a 
time. This of course was owing to their own Improvidence, for 
a very few days' labor would have raised all the corn ami po 



tatoes they could use; or a few days' fishing in November, 
when the winter's supply of fish is taken, would have put them 
beyond want. And it does not apply to all the villages, but 
to that one in which the people were the most improvident of 
all. Oftentimes when suffering severely from hunger in the 
dead of winter, they bitterly lament their own improvidence 
in not having planted some corn and potatoes, and vow that 
if they live through till spring they will do differently, and 
provide food enough for the next winter. But when the 
abundance of summer comes, the starving of the past winter 
is forgotten, and the time is passed in dancing and pleasure, 
with no thought for the future and no provision made for it 
All the Indians who are middle-aged recall the severe starva- 
tion to which when young they were periodically subjected, 
and through which they hardly lived. Yet these severe les- 
sons did not lead them to provide, what they might so easily 
have provided, abundance. 


Since the first French traders came among the Ojibways, 
it was their custom to outfit the Indian for the hunt, to give 
him in advance ammunition, tobacco, and everything he needed 
as clothing for himself and for his family. When he brought 
back his pack of furs he paid this debt with them, and imme- 
diately took a fresh debt upon him, as much as his trader 
would permit. This has come down to the present day, and 
has become ingrained, so that every Ojibway goes in debt to 
his trader just as deeply as he will allow him. It is not con- 
sidered right to contract a second, third or fourth debt, to as 
many different traders; and the traders often have a tacit 
understanding among themselves to prevent that, nevertheless 
it is frequently done, and very generally attempted. The Ojib- 
way is no more dishonest than any other man, but owing to 
tin- vicious system in which he has been brought up. of going 
in debt all that his trader will allow him. and also owing to 
his usually not woridng, and so having nothing to pay with, 
he is usually dooply in debt, and finds bis necessities driving 
him to go in (lri»i more. The experience of the traders with 
the heathen Indians is that every man is trying to go in debt 

ftll he can, while the payment is slow and with many doubtful. 



As the traders express it, "Every man is striving to get some- 
thing for nothing." The annuity also that was promised to 
them under the Rice treaty of 1889, has operated disastrously 
to them in that way, as in many others, for the Indian goes 
in debt on the strength of his annuity, and many persons will 
trust him on the strength of it; so it is usually swallowed up 
many times over beforehand. And being very small, at the 
most only $9.20, it operates as a bait to go in debt on the 
strength of it, rather than as a help. Many Ojibways, how- 
ever, are conscientious to make payment, and it is astonishing 
to us how much their traders will allow them to go in debt. 
Some of them go in debt to the amount of $200, with no prop- 
erty in the world but a gun and. some traps, and they pay it 
The traders, being mixed-bloods, understand getting it out 
of them; but it is doubtful that a white man could. 


The office of chief does not now amount to anything, owing 
to the great numbers of chiefs that have recently been created 
by United States Indian agents. Formerly there were only 
two or three chiefs of the whole Ojibway nation; now some 
chiefs enroll only eight in their band, counting men, women, 
and children. The chiefs are no wiser nor better than the 
mass of the people, but rather inferior to them if anything. 
It is now a mere honorary title, without power or authority. 

We hear much said of the eloquence of the Indians. Many 
of them are good and ready speakers and present things clearly 
and forcibly. They do not much use the metaphors and sim- 
iles that popular imagination has credited them with, but 
talk like sensible and therefore truly eloquent men. While 
many are admirable speakers, there is only one who is a gen- 
ius, a truly remarkably eloquent man. He is the Chief Wendji- 
madub (Where he moves from sitting), or, as his French name 
is, Joseph Charette. He lives at White Earth, and is about 
fifty-five years of age. He has a little French blood. I con- 
sider him perhaps the best speaker, the greatest orator, I have 
ever met. Although without education — he does not know a 
letter — his powers are remarkable, lie has all the vehemence, 
the fire, the energy, command of Language, range of thought, 
of the true orator. As another said, "Kverv word comes like ;m 


electric spark from his heart." I think he would be considered 
a wonderful speaker in any nation. 

The lineal descendant of the old hereditary chiefs of the 
Ojibways lives at White Earth, Mesh-a-ki-gi-zhick (Sky reach- 
ing to the ground all round). He is now about sixty-eight 
years of age. a remarkably fine looking man, with a strong, 
typical Indian face. He would attract notice anywhere. He 
is a man of many noble qualities. 

There was one of the chiefs who towered above all the 
others in the great nobility of his nature, and who fulfilled 
any ideal of the nobility of the Indian that Cooper or any 
other person ever drew. That was Med-we-gan-on-int, the 
head chief of Red Lake, who has just died, at the age of about 
eighty-four years. He was made by nature one of the greatest 
men in mind and body that I think I have ever seen. He was 
of commanding stature, six feet four inches, and of imposing 
presence. Nobility was stamped, upon all his actions and 
words and in his looks. It would seem that he could never 
have done a mean thing. He was very level-headed, true to 
his friends, patient under seeming neglect, unselfish, and of 
such a broad vision and sound judgment as would have made 
him an ideal ruler anywhere. His distinguishing character- 
istic was his wonderful judgment. Amid all the perplexing 
questions that he had to deal with, and where the wisest man, 
white or Indian, could hardly discern what was the proper 
thing to do, his unerring judgment infallibly picked out the 
true path among so many misleading ones and followed it 
He never was carried off his balance, never mistook the trail. 
He was as sagacious as Washington himself. Even when he 
was a heathen man, he was always noble. For the last twenty 
years of his life he was a Christian. When Christianity came 
to his village, he at once accepted it, and had all his children, 
grandchildren, and relatives do likewise. 

When a young man he was a great warrior and hunter and 
of remarkable bodily powers. A young man came out from 
Washington, provided with instruments to measure Indians 
for the Columbian exposition; but the width of the chiefs 
shoulders, the length of liis arms, the rise of liis head and 
chest, made all the measuring instruments useless. He told 
the writer that when, as a young man. he picked up liis canoe 


and inverted it over his head, he would not lay it down for 
twenty miles. About two miles is as far as most men. even 
the strongest, wish to carry a canoe, without a rest. He was 
no orator, and said very little; but when he did say a few 
words, that ended the matter. All felt that "Daniel had come 
to judgment." He alone of all chiefs was revered and obeyed 
by all the people. He was free from all the weaknesses which, 
in different forms, attached to all the others, as they do to all 
men, and he towered over them all. Looking back on his 
career closed, one sees that he was made by nature and his 
Creator a truly great man. It was his delight to go every 
summer, on foot, even up to eighty years of age. with a party 
of men of his band, hundreds of miles over the prairies to visit 
the Piegan Indians. He could not understand a word they 
said, but they were relatives, he said; their fathers had 
hunted together long ago, and the pleasure of seeing them 
was, to him, great. His nature craved that excursion on the 
boundless prairies every year. He pointed out places on the 
White Earth reservation where the Sioux had chased him. and 
the clumps of poplars where he hid from them and was safe. 


About eight hundred Ojibways live along the south shore 
of Red lake, and about four hundred on the long point at the 
Narrows between the southern and northern parts of the lake. 
The houses of those living on the south shore are built by 
themselves of logs, plastered with clay, being small and with 
one room only. A feature of the Red Lake home is the chim- 
ney, made by themselves out of a whitish clay. It burns a 
very great deal of wood, but is admirable. There are no chairs, 
tables, beds, or stoves, in the house; but there is a board 
floor cleanly swept, with rush mats .all round, on which the 
inmates sit, eat, and sleep. The chimney is in the corner far- 
thest from the door, and nothing can exceed the warmth, coin- 
fort, and cheerfulness of a Red Lake home on a winter even- 
ing when the bright lire in the chimney floods the room with 
light and heat. The wood is pine, cut tour feet long, and is 
placed on end in the chimney. 1< ignites readily, ami 1< . 
with a bright flame. The family or families and visitors are 
sitting all round on the mats, with their bed-COVering neatlj 



folded up by the wall, and animated conversation and cheerful 
laughter are heard on every side. No enjoyment that we have 
in our homes, with the fire shut up in an iron box, is equal to 
the flooded light and warmth of the Red Lake home. The 
food — it may be boiled corn alone or perhaps with fish — is 
neatly and cleanly served on plates laid on the mats, beside 
each person. 

It takes a great pile of wood to keep the fire going in the 
open chimney for twent} T -four hours. It is the business of the 
women to supply it. Every day one can see, about four o'clock 
in the afternoon, long strings of women, each with her ax and 
packing strap, going out into the woods perhaps a mile; soon 
the woods are vocal with the axes; and then equally long 
strings of women are seen issuing from the woods, each with 
her load upon her back, and each woman packs an immense 
quantity. This is thrown down at the door of the house, and 
brought in as needed. If a woman at Red lake meets a man 
on the patli, she goes off to one side, perhaps into the snow 
above her knees, about four feet from the path, and there pa- 
tiently waits for the man to pass. 

The Red Lake Indians are the most industrious of all the 
Indians; they are apt to be always doing something to make 
a living. They will starve with the seed corn by them, rather 
than eat it. They have raised quantities of corn in their little 
fields by the shore of the lake, for a hundred years past, plant- 
ing the same ground over and over again, and it does not seem 
to be exhausted. Sometimes the land is not even plowed, or 
hoed over deeply, for the new crop, but just planted as it is. 
Along in the 70's one could see strings of women packing corn 
on their backs a distance of five miles or more, to sell it to 
the traders at a cent a pound for goods. As the railroad was 
then far from Red lake, perhaps a hundred miles, the prices 
of the provisions they got in exchange for their corn were 
very high, flour $5 a sack, common tea 50 cents a pound, four 
or five pounds of pork for a dollar, and sugar about the same, 
so that their corn brought them very little, only equal to a 
small fraction of a cent a pound. 

The four hundred Ojibways at the Narrow! lived In i more 

heathenish way, in those days, than any others of this people. 

There was the log house, but extremely small, and extremely 



filthy and ill-sinelling, never swept nor tidied, but having all 
sorts of refuse inside. The inmates looked unwashed and un- 
kempt; the children wore no clothes, or only the white cotton 
shirt, if any; and the grown up people in summer wore very lit- 
tle. Instead of glass a piece of white cotton cloth would be nailed 
across the window, as in many other villages where they are 
poor. They have always a particularly abundant supply of 
fish there; and they lived on fish alone, sometimes for months 
without even salt. They did not seem to crave even salt. Yet 
they seemed to be perfectly healthy. They have a splendid 
rich black loam soil, much finer than I have seen anywhere 
else in the Bed Lake region, bearing a magnificent deciduous 
forest Anything they plant grows to the greatest perfection. 

Around their villages we saw images of birds, etc.. their 
protecting deities to ward off ill luck and sickness. The gam- 
bling drum and the medicine drum w 7 ere always sounding: 
and all they wanted was to be left undisturbed in their hea- 
thenish wajs. They would have no school, church, or mission. 
We saw women sitting round a fire in the night. That wa^ 
where a person had died within three days; the wigwam had 
been pulled down, and they had made a fire, because then the 
soul on its way to its future abode would have a fire and be 
comfortable. If they made no fire, the season being winter, 
the departed soul would have no fire, and its sufferings could 
be imagined. After three days it was no longer necessary, for 
the soul had reached its abode. When a mother puts her 
little boys to sleep at night, she first draws what seems to be 
a quart of water into her mouthy and then squirts it, with force 
enough apparently to turn a mill wheel, into the ears of each, 
first on one side of the head and then on the other. That is 
to keep off evil spirits. She feels that she can keep house just 
to perfection, and can raise children just as they ought to be 
raised. The unusual heathenism of the Indians at the Nar- 
rows arises from their living in such a remote place, where 
civilization has never penetrated. A few yean ago tin y were 
living apparently as they did when Columbus landed. 

The life of the Indians :\\ CaSfl Lake differs little from 

that of the others, except that tliev are the most improvident 


of all the Indians. They raise very little corn or potatoes and 
therefore suffer most frequently and severely from starvation. 
All through the spring, summer and fall, food provided by the 
bounty of nature, as venison,. moose-meat, wild rice, and fish, 
is extremely abundant; and they then forget the long cold 
winter, and the need to provide for it. Many families start in 
to pass the winter without even a potato or any other food 
ahead. Their sufferings in consequence are severe, year after 

There are two kinds of homes at Leech lake, which are 
very different, the heathen and the Christian. The former is a 
small log shanty, with earthen floor, and so low that one can 
touch the roof. There is no fireplace, but an old broken cook- 
ing stove and also a heating stove. There is no bed, table, 
nor chair, but the usual mats. The house is never swept nor 
cleaned in any way; the day clothing and bed coverings are 
as dirty as they can be; and spittle and hawkings from the 
throat and nose are everywhere so that one cannot sit down, 
or put his hand anywhere, without touching them. The house 
is nearly as full of people as it can hold; sometimes big girls 
and young women lolling over each other, and in each other's 
laps. The old man is smoking, and the young man may be 
painting his face, greasing his hair, and tying sleigh bells 
round his ankles for a dance. The drum is tied in a bag sus- 
pended, and there is a pack of cards. Everything speaks of 
idleness, heathenism, and filthiness. There is one dim window 
light, and the place is dark and forbidding. 

The Christian home at Leech lake is also a log house, but 
it is large, light, and airy. There is a board floor, and it is so 
clean you might bake bread on it any time, it being scrubbed 
to whiteness; there are a table, chairs, cook stove aud boat- 
ing stove. The bed in one corner looks clean and inviting, 
and it is as well made as any white woman could make hers, 
and has decorated pillow shams. Pictures are on the walls, 
and altogether it is an inviting home that anyone might be 
pleased to live in. The meals are nicely served, on a elean 
white tablecloth, and in clean dishes. There is nice warm 
bread, pork, potatoes, and tea. The comfort and cleanliness 
are quite equal or superior to those of the average while Bet- 


tier. The inmates are cleanly dressed, the man has a white 
shirt, and they look respectable. The reason of the difference 
is that they are Christians. 


If the Ojibway can get flesh, as venison or beef, he likes it 
best of all and will make his meal almost exclusively of it. I 
have seen a woman, lately delivered of an infant,- eat what 
seemed to me to be two pounds of beef, without anything else, 
and it did her good. 

We hear a great deal of how much Indians eat. The Ojib- 
way eats no more than any other man, when once his hunger 
is satisfied. Often he has had very little to eat for a long time, 
and, like any of us, he would make a good hearty meal when 
he does get to good food. The Indian children in a school do 
not eat as much as white children when once they get filled up. 

The Ojibway's staple food now is fish. Every morning the 
first thing the woman living on Leech lake, Cass lake, or Win- 
nibigoshish, does when she awakes is to take her paddle, jump 
into her canoe, and draw her nets. Usually she takes more 
fish than they can use. Indians have averred to me that no 
Indians living on those lakes were ever hungry, and that if any 
said they were they lied. With a very little forethought in 
laying in a supply of fish, no one, I am sure, need ever suffer 
hunger. In the fall, when the lakes are just freezing up, is 
the time of their laying in their supply of fish for the winter. 
An Indian woman at Leech lake lately told me that she set 
her nets four nights at that time and caught eight hundred 
splendid tullibees, a species of white fish. That was about 
the usual catch. Every family can take an unlimited quan- 
tity, for winter use, at that season. They are hung up by the 
tails to freeze dry. In front of every house on the lakes at 
that season is a rude frame, with thousands of fish hung on 
rods driven through the tails, the winter's supply of Our 
of the 1,000 Indians at Leech lake, only one man was over 
known to draw or set a. net; it is left exclusively to women. 

What then is the life of the Ojibway man in his Dative 
state? T mean the heathen man. The only thing he doefl 
that ever T eonhl see. is to hunt a little, in Spring (tnd fall. 
Occasionally a man will be found who will raise some corn and 



potatoes. The rest of his time, when not hunting, is spent in 
gambling; or in lying on his mat in the house or wigwam, gos- 
siping; or in visiting other wigwams or bands of Indians; or, 
for some part, in dancing. He also spends a good deal of time 
in drumming and singing. The woman is the bread-winner 
of the family. 


He does not think gambling any harm; he has been used 
to it all his life. If in winter, it is done in his wigwam or 
house, where he is warm; if in summer, out of doors. A 
blanket is spread, beside which from one to three drummers, 
holding aloft small drums in their hands, keep drumming and 
singing the gambling chant or song while the game goes on. 
Usually, when approaching a village, one can hear the gam- 
bling drums at a long distance; and coming nearer he finds 
the men collected in a group, the gamblers, who may be six or 
eight in number, hard at their business, and the rest of the 
men interested spectators around them. As fast as the drum- 
mers are exhausted with the continual high-pitched singing, 
others are substituted for them. They do not seem to be able 
to gamble well without the drumming and singing. The 
women of the village are all quietly going about their work, 
but no man is doing anything; they have all been attracted 
by the game. The gamblers often seem to have a kind of fit 
on when engaged in it; their bodies seem to be disjointed, and 
each particular limb to be shaking a shake of its own. The 
game often lasts three days, and till it is finished they hardly 
take time to eat or sleep. The stakes are anything a man 
has, his gun, his blanket, his coat. I have sometimes seen a 
man go through the winter in his shirt sleeves, who had 
gambled away his coat. One man took off and gambled away 
his only pair of pants. It is usually done in their own way. 
the bullet and moccasin game; but some use cards. The Little 
boys begin at a very early age, and sometimes the women gam- 
ble in their houses or in the street; but the women are not 
nearly such incessant gamblers as the men. 

Sometimes the heathen Ojibwav goes through a perform" 
ance manifesting forth to himself and to others that he a 




god, that he has supernatural powers. He sits down outside, 
collects all the movable articles around him, and keeps them 
flying into the air, tossing them about and all around in every 
conceivable manner. His admiration of himself grows as he 
witnesses his miraculous performances until he comes to look 
on himself as indeed a god. 

In every Indian village there is always something going 
on. Some are striving for superiority, just as it is among our- 
selves; and others are trying to pull them down. Every day 
the men meet to discuss matters; there is continual council- 
ing. One of our Indian clergymen who lived at Red lake 
twelve years said that never once in that time did there cease 
to be something going on, that took up their attention. Often 
when sitting in the wigwam one will see the blanket door 
pulled aside for a moment, a face appears, and "You are in- 
vited to a feast" is said to the good man of the house. He 
thereupon rises, picks up a wooden mug and spoon, and goes. 
The feast consists probably of whole boiled corn, and perhaps 
fish, of which the guest gets a mugfull; but there is some- 
thing to be talked about that seems vitally important to them. 
Of late years electing some of their number to go to Wash- 
ington about their affairs takes months of counciling, and 
keeps their minds continually on the stretch. 

Then sometimes it takes the man many hours in a day to 
paint his face properly for the dance, and to oil his hair and 
arrange his head-dress of feathers. So his time is very fully 
occupied. In summer he goes off a hundred miles or more to 
visit another band of Chippewas; or he goes to visit the Sioux 
two or three hundred miles away, and is gone most of the 
summer. So his time slips away, and he effects nothing. 

The conception of life by the Ojibway and by the white 
man is fundamentally different. The white man's thought is 
to do something, to achieve something; the Indian's is that 
life is one long holiday. He has no wish for any improvement, 
nor to live differently; he just wishes to take his ease and 
enjoy himself. He sees the white lumberman, for Instance, 
out two miles from his logging camp, waiting for daylight to 
begin work; sees him toiling all day, "dinnering out." and go 
ing home tired, in the dark, to his logging camp, The Ojib- 
way thinks he has a far better way, he has been lying in his 



wigwam all day, enjoying himself, warm and comfortable. If 
be gets hungry, he goes out and catches a rabbit, for there are 
a plenty of rabbits everywhere. So he finds far more enjoy- 
ment in his life than he would in the toiling, slaving life of the 
white man. 


The Ojibway woman, on the other hand, is industrious, 
especially the middle-aged and old woman. Besides fishing 
for the family, the women usually raise all the corn and po- 
tatoes raised, put away the produce of the gardens, gather 
the wild rice, and, generally speaking, do all the work. The 
women every afternoon, as was before stated, take their axes, 
chop the wood, and carry it to the lodge door with their pack- 
ing straps. It may be a short or a long distance. If the 
woods have all been cut away near the village, and if there 
are ponies as at White Earth, Leech lake, and other places, 
then ponies are used to bring it; but when the logs have 
been deposited at the door, the woman always takes her ax 
and chops it. ZSTo family ever thinks of keeping a day's wood 
ahead; so if there is a blizzard and excessive cold, say at 
Leech lake, every pony and sled that can be .mustered has to be 
out in the midst of the blizzard on the ice going for wood. It 
is that or freeze. 

The women, though far superior to the men in point of use- 
fulness, and it seems to me their equals in bodily strength, are 
niade to occupy a position of great inferiority. The woman 
always walks behind the man; and she turns out of the path 
for a man when she meets him. At a feast women never sit 
with the men; even the young boys have to be served first; 
and then, last of all, the women, who have had all the labor of 
preparing the feast, can sit down and consume the fragments. 
Even the exclamations of the language are not common to 
both sexes as with us; the woman has her own, oxelusively 
for women, and must not use those a man dot s. The Indian! 
look on our deference for women as foolish, affected, a fad. 

The heathen man thinks it his undoubted right to whip nil 
wife, and lie exorcises ins privilege freely. That is one objec- 
tion that even some Christian Indians find against the I'hris- 

tion religion; namely, that the wives, knowing they will no 


longer be whipped, since their husbands have become Chris- 
tians, presume upon that and are not nearly so good and sub- 
missive as they formerly were, or as they ought to be. Gen- 
erally the wife yields to the. argument of the ax helve on her 
scalp, and, like a spoiled child, seems to feel better after she 
has been whipped. But that is not always the case. An 
Ojibway whose name is, in translation, The one with the far 
sounding and penetrating voice, undertook to whip his wife, 
but she turned on him and broke his arm, then tenderly nursed 
him till he was well, and they have been a most loving couple 
ever since. And it is true that among the Ojibways there is 
about the same proportion of women as among the white 
people, who, being stronger mentally and with more energy 
and sense, rule and govern their husbands, to the good of all. 
Especially in middle and later life the intellectuality and mas- 
culine powers of the wife are apt to come to the front. 


Many of the heathen Ojibways have two wives, and some 
three. It is considered perfectly proper to have as many wives 
as one can, and as there are government annuities for each 
woman and each child, which the man as head of the house 
draws, it is an inducement to add more. Sometimes the two 
wives are sisters. Usually they live in far better peace with 
each other than white women would under such circumstances. 
The man usually has two separate homes or wigwams for his 
two families; but sometimes they live in one house. Often 
the first wife feels aggrieved at the taking of a second, but 
does not actively object. 

There is no marriage ceremony among the Ojibways. Usu- 
ally all the girls (I am speaking here as everywhere else in this 
paper, unless the contrary is expressly stated, of the heathen 
Ojibways) begin to bear children as soon as nature will per- 
mit, and keep on bearing as long as nature will allow. I have 
never known an Indian girl to live as an unmarried woman. — 
I am speaking of the heathen. But I haw known Christian 
Ojibway young women who lived single always, and whose 
characters were as spotless as any woman's could be. Among 
the heathen a girl usually lives a while with one man. And 
then with another, and there is a great deal of changing 


around. Usually, though, the elderly and old people are faith- 
ful to each other and continue to live together. But any hea- 
then woman, one will find on inquiry, has lived with a good 
many different husbands. There was only one man among the 
Ojibways who never married. He was in consequence called 
"The everlasting young unmarried man." He lived to the age 
of seventy years. 

It is quite common for a husband, after having lived with 
a woman for a long time and raised quite a family, to abandon 
her and his children without any cause, and to take another 
woman and begin to rear a new family. A man, for instance, 
will abandon his wife and children at Leech lake, and go to 
Red lake, seventy-five miles distant, and take a new wife there. 
Or he may do so in the same village. In such circumstances 
he never does anything to support the wife and children he 
has abandoned. I have never known a man in such a case to 
do the slightest thing for the children. But when the time 
of the annual payment comes round, he always tries to get the 
annuities coming to the children and to his abandoned wife, 
and generally succeeds. If he be opposed, he makes a bitter 
fight before the Indian agent, to that end. And when he gets 
hold of the money, he never gives any of them one cent. One 
can constantly hear the poor woman lamenting that not only 
has all the money of the children, whom she is supporting, 
been taken, but that he has got hers also. The woman always 
supports the children. The man only helps his children, even 
when they are members of the family in which he is living. 
He does not seem to lose caste in the slightest degree by such 
desertion or non-support of his children. It is so common that 
it is looked on as the regular thing. 

Let no one think from this that the Ojibway man does not 
love his children. He seems to love them dearly. In his wig- 
wam or log cabin he fondles them and plays with them by the 
hour, just like a white father. When they are sick he seems 
just as much distressed as a white father would be. He will 
not let them go away to school, if it be any long distance away, 
for fear that something may befall them, and he far away, 
When they sicken and die, he shows the greatest dejection 

and the most bitter grief. I have seen him hurst Into tears. 


Often I have thought, and still think, that the Ojibway loves 
his children more than the white man; and I have accounted 
for it to my own mind by the fact that they lose so many of 
their children, making those who remain doubly precious. 
And yet so often he abandons them, apparently without a 
cause, and apparently without ever giving them a. thought 
again. It is a much more rare thing for an Indian woman to 
abandon her children. Like her white sister, she clings to 
them and manages to support them somehow. It is under- 
stood that it devolves on the woman to support her children. 

I have never seen the slightest endearment pass between 
husband and wife, not the slightest outward tokens of affec- 
tion. Yet there is no doubt that they are as much attached 
to each other, especially in middle and later life, as those of 
our own race. 


For the first year of its life, the Ojibway baby is taken 
most excellent care of in its well known cradle. It is wrapped 
in a great many thicknesses of flannel and soft material, which 
effectually exclude all cold, and it is perfectly warm and com- 
fortable in any weather. Its head is protected from injury 
by the wooden piece surrounding it. It likes the firm feeling 
of being bound and swathed in this frame, and will cry to be 
put into it. The frame can be leaned against the wall at any 
angle, and so it can be relieved by change of position; or, 
best of all, the mother carries it suspended on her back, by a 
strap passed round her forehead, while she goes about her 
work. I have seen a mother at Red lake, while waiting all 
day out of doors for the annual payment, take out in the open 
air and nurse her baby in a temperature of about thirty de- 
grees below zero, and the baby was not over six weeks old. 
An intelligent United States Indian agent, observing them, 
remarked, "An Indian woman can doubly discount; a white 
woman in taking care of her baby." 

But with the emancipation of the baby from its cradle, a 
surprising change in its treatment occurs. It goes naked, or 
almost so, winter ami Slimmer, having Onij a shirt ami moc- 
casins until five or six years. The parents Seem to think that 
it needs no clothes. One will see it outdoors playing in the 



snow, when it is very cold, clad only with the cotton shirt, fly- 
ing loose, and moccasins. Then the parents go on long winter 
journeys, or they very frequently travel miles in the night to 
some heathen dance, the mother carrying the young child on 
her back when the mercury stands thirty or forty degrees be- 
low zero. The dance house may be hot, and then there is the 
home journey in the middle of the night. These carryings to 
dances cause the death of great numbers of children. Their 
life is hard in every way, the constant moving about in winter, 
the insufficient food, the exposure, the insufficient clothing, 
the one blanket in which the little child sleeps. The wonder 
is that any children survive it, and only the strongest consti- 
tutions do. And when the child becomes sick, the only idea 
they have of doing anything for it is to drum over it night and 
day, or to perform the "grand medicine'' rites for its recovery. 

Whatever is good for them, the parents think must be good 
for their children also. So they give them the strongest tea 
to drink as soon as they are able to drink anything; and all 
the flesh they can eat, or anything they happen to have. From 
the same idea, the little children very early get to using tobac- 
co. I have seen a boy of four beating his mother with his 
tiny fists, to make her give him more tobacco. Every boy and 
girl thinks he or she must have tobacco, and plenty of it. 

The parents have no government whatever over their chil- 
dren. They are absolute masters from the first dawn of in- 
telligence, and they very quickly find it out and rule. Some- 
times the mother gives the <ihild a push or a cuff, saying to it. 
"You are spoiled;" but lets it take its own way. They never 
correct them, nor try to bend them to their will. I suppose 
the reason is that they lose so many children and therefore 
cannot bear to correct nor cross in any way those that sur- 

When a child is crying, the mother tries to quiet it by sav- 
ing, "Hush, that Frenchman will strike you," pointing to the 
white stranger who is there. Frenchman is the common nam.' 
for any white man, as the French were the first white nu n thej 
■aw. When that is not enough, she tolls it the ow l will come 

and carry it oil; and when that from long use lias lost its 
terrors, she shows it a piece of the owl's ear, into which it 
will bo put. As fast as oik 4 lie is worn ont. another is in- 


vented; and threatening, which is never carried out, is also 
used. The moral effect on the child cannot be good. 

Indian children are much more amiable than white chil- 
dren. They do not quarrel so with each other. Perhaps 
from heredity, several families living in one long wigwam, they 
have learned to bear with each other's frailties and to keep the 
peace. The grown up people, also, I think, live much more 
peaceably with each other than white people. Indian chil- 
dren in a school are not nearly so troublesome to their teach- 
ers as white children, and they are much more easily con- 


Does the Ojibway have any mechanical ingenuity? A 
great deal more than we give them credit for. In fact, they 
seem to be able to make anything they want to make. One 
of our Indian clergymen makes a cutler or sleigh that is good 
and serviceable, although he never had any instruction. A 
mixed-blood young man at White Earth was with his mother, 
when her wagon wheel broke. He took his ax, went into the 
woods, and made a new wheel that answered the purpose. 
Since that time he has established himself as a regular wheel- 
wright, and seems to be able to do that work perfectly well. 
Yet he never had a day's instruction. To another Indian 
young man I lately intrusted the building of a frame parson- 
age. He had built only one little board shanty before, and 
had had no training or experience excepting that. Yet he 
built the two-story parsonage, costing about §500, very well, 
and it looks well. They undoubtedly have a great deal of 
mechanical ingenuity, if they wish to exert it. One of these 
Indians made a fiddle. 

The women, too, make most beautiful patterns in their bead 
work, which is often marvelous. Lately some of them have 
been taught lace-making, and the beautiful lace they turn out 
astonishes white experts. A highly educated young white 
lady, a teacher of lace-making, told me that she spent two 
weeks learning a certain lace-stitch, and then took as a pupil 
an Indian girl with no previous training in this work, who 
learned it in half an hour, and could do it better than she. 
The Indian children also model in clay very beautiful figures. 




It is a pity that their undoubted genius cannot be made to 
benefit the world. Usually from indifference and lack of 
desire to apply it, unless called out by some necessity, it is 
never used. But it is there in high degree, and it has already 
permanently enriched our civilization in giving us the birch 
bark canoe, the moccasin, and many other things that might 
be mentioned, which, for beauty and perfect adaptation to the 
purposes intended, cannot be surpassed. 


This leads me to remark that in my opinion the intellectu- 
ality of the race- is very high. I think it surpasses that of 
our own race, though, from circmstances, not being called 
out, it is not used nor known. But let. any one listen to them 
discussing anything that is propounded to them concerning 
their own affairs, and he will be surprised to note how they 
look at it in every light, discussing it from points of view that 
he never would have thought of, and to observe how strong and 
original their minds are. I think no lawyer can equal an 
Indian, who yet does not know a letter, in making a skillful 
and telling presentation of his case, in marshaling his argu- 
ments effectively, and in concealing the weak points. And 
yet, with all their intellectuality, in another point of view they 
are sometimes grown up children. 

The Indian is a highly educated man, although this may 
sound absurd to those who hear me. Said an Oxford graduate, 
then an inmate of my family, who often sat with Indians at 
meals, "These men seem to me like highly educated men ; the 
lines of their faces seem like the lines of the faces of highly 
educated men." And I think it is true, that, though in a dif- 
ferent way from us, the Indian is so. In everything that is 
needed for his life, or related to it, and even beyond it, he is 
so. The open page of nature, all about plants and animals, 
about life, a thousand things that are unknown to us, he knows 
perfectly. His faculties are far more highly trained than 
ours; his perceptions are far more keen. He will see fish in 
the water, animals on land, the glance of a deer's eye behind 
a bush, or his ear sticking up, where a while man cannot B86 
anything. Canoeing with Indians, one will constantly hear 
them pointing out Ash, numbers of them, naming them as bass, 


pike, etc.; but the white man can see nothing. So even when 
going along in the cars, they will see niany deer or other an- 
imals where no one else can see anything. 

In one respect the Indian is remarkable. He is such a 
reader of character. There is no use in trying to deceive him. 
He seems to look right through a person, and "sizes him up," 
as the phrase goes, much more accurately than we can. They 
are very accurate judges of a person's social standing. 

What does the Indian think of the white man? We show 
them our electric lights and our other wonders, and think 
they will fall down and worship us as superior beings. It is 
not so. The Indian, it is true, sees his white brother do many 
wonderful things. But put the. white man in his circum- 
stances, and he is a miserably helpless creature, far inferior 
to the Indian. He does not know how to make a camp, how 
to protect himself from the cold, how to find the game. Put 
an Indian and a white man into the woods; the white man 
can see nothing and will starve to death, the Indian can find 
a good living. In the Indian's country and in his circum- 
stances, the white man needs the constant help of his red 
brother to keep him alive. No Indian has been drowned on 
the great lakes of Minnesota, as Leech, Cass and Winnibi- 
goshish, within the memory of man, unless he was loaded with 
whisky; the white men have just settled about those lakes, and 
already considerable numbers of them have been drowned. In 
brief, the Indian sees that he is just as superior in his sphere 
as the white man is in his. 

The Indian has a far higher opinion of himself than the 
white man of himself. "Do you not know," said one of our 
Indian clergymen to me, "that the Indian thinks his body 
God?" That translated into our idiom means that he has a 
very high idea of his own personality. Consequently the one 
who treats him with very great respect is the one who gains 
his esteem and love. 

It is strange also that with the Indian amiability is the 
test by which he judges. One of themselves may dv> anything, 
no matter how outrageously bad, even according to their own 
standard, and ho will not lose easte in the least. Ho will as- 
sociate with the others precisely as before, without a thought 
on his part, or on theirs, of there being any difference. Hut 



if he loses his temper, or, as we say, "gets mad/' he has utterly 
fallen in the Indian's estimation. To lose control of one's self, 
to get in a passion, to scold, is with the Indian the unpardon- 
able sin. I cannot remember ever to have seen an Ojibway 
in a passion. 

The Ojibways have certainly many strong points. Their 
speech is clean. I can hear more bad language among my own 
people in half an hour than I have heard among the Ojibways 
in over twenty-four years. They never swear, and I have 
heard very little obscene language. Once at Sandy Lake I 
did hear such language; almost every word was foul, but I 
saw that they were only imitating some of the scum of the 
frontier, whom they had met, and that they thought it was 
smart. That is saying a great deal for them, cleanness of 

Also they are far more honest than the whites. I have 
inquired everywhere among the lumbermen, for hundreds of 
miles, and the testimony is always the same, namely, that 
where the Indians are they can leave things lying about and 
nothing is taken, but when the whites come there is a sad 
change. From Bemidji, through by Pokegama lake to Mille 
Lacs, the testimony is always the same. They have also more 
respect for the law, and more fear of the law, when they know 
a thing to be law, than the whites have. 

Among the poor Ojibways life and property are absolutely 
safe. There has been no instance of any man or woman hav- 
ing robbed or "held up" another, Ted or white, iu a quarter 
of a century. They would never think of such a thing, and it 
makes no difference how much money a man may be known 
to have on him, he is perfectly safe. A helpless woman or 
child might go from end to end of their country by day or 
night, and would never be molested. Among the Indians one 
has the feeling of absolute security in person and property. 
During twenty-four years I have never carried a gun or pistol 
when traveling among them, and that was almost constantly, 
in a circuit of about 300 miles, except once for fear of wol?ea; 
and never have 1 had firearms in my house except once, when 
Rome white tramps were reported to i>e meditating an atta< It, 

of whom the Indians also were mortally afraid. My family 
and 1 never received anything but kindness from the Indians. 



and never felt one moment's apprehension. Once we were 
gone for three months, and the house, untenanted, and filled 
with things they needed, stood by the roadside. When we 
came back it was untouched. All of us, when among the 
whites, at certain times and in certain places, fear and are on 
our guard; when we want absolute security, we go among the 
poor Ojibways. 

The Indian is extremely suspicious; he hardly ever gives 
his confidence to any man, especially a white man. For in- 
stance, let him have known a white man ever so long, and 
have always found him perfectly upright, and his friend; yet 
if that white man proposes something new to him, he will 
never take it on trust, nor think,- "Here is this man who is 
wiser than I, and he proposes this thing for my good; therefore 
I will accept it." Instead he will view it with suspicion and 
think that it is some plan to injure him, and will examine it 
with that thought constantly in his mind. He views every- 
thing with suspicion. He is the least trustful, and the most 
suspicious of ill, of all beings. 

I have never met an Indian who did not believe in the 
existence of deities and the life beyond the grave. I do not 
believe such a one can be found, or that there ever was such 
an Indian. It is a part of the warp and woof of their thought. 
At the same time their belief in a future life does not seem 
to have any influence on their conduct here; nor do they seem 
to have any fear of retribution beyond the grave. 


I cannot recall any murders by Ojibways of their fellow 
Indians, when not intoxicated, except that one man, a mixed- 
blood, killed a woman who rejected his improper proposals; 
and that another mixed-blood killed his wife and an Indian, 
who, aided by this second wife, had killed his first or real wife. 
Also at Red Lake a man was shot by another, whether acci- 
dentally or not was never determined. 

One or two white persons have been killed in collisions with 
the Indians within the past twenty-live years; but not so 
many as there have been Indians killed by whites. 

Until about twenty live years ago, great numbers of In 
dians were killed by each other in drunken lights. Our ap d 



Indian clergyman has a record of the murders in Crow Wing, 
a village of perhaps five or six hundred inhabitants, where he 
was then living; and in one year, there were, I think, about 
one hundred and twenty-five such murders. Those were in 
the sad times of debauchery, before the present missions were 
started. And at Mille Lacs, where there is no mission, the 
mortality in drunken fights has been very great all through 
the years. But in the rest of the Indian country, as at Leech 
lake, Eed lake, Cass lake, and on the White Earth reservation, 
they have learned the sacredness of human life. At Mille 
Lacs, until within a very few years, and perhaps now, a com- 
mon sight was to see the women gathering up all the guns 
and knives, and taking them away into the woods to hide 
them, the men being about to engage in a drunk, and they be- 
ing anxious that none should be killed. 


A pleasing characteristic of the Indian is his politeness. 
He is never rude, rough, and boorish, as the white man often 
is. When a stranger comes into the wigwam, no matter how 
much the curiosity of the inmates is excited, they will not 
stare at him. One can see them check the little children, 
when, their curiosity being excited, they stare at the new comer 
too intently. They are naturally polite. They very quickly 
learn table manners that are unexceptionable, and to conduct 
themselves in company with ease and grace, and often with 
great dignity. When the wife of our aged Indian clergyman 
was attending a reception at the White House, there was a 
greater crowd of distinguished people, congressmen and others, 
around her and her husband, than there was around the presi- 
dent; but she was equal to the occasion, and received with the 
grace and dignity of a queen. Indians say that when they go 
among white people the latter often crowd up to them and 
stare into their faces, as if they were wild beasts. They would 
never do that. The average white man whom they meet up in 
the pine country shouts to them from as far as he can see 
them, "Bo zhoo, neche," and then follows it up with Launching 
at them a few of the most obscene words in the Ojibwav 
language, which they have all learned. The Ojibwajs would 
never do so to white people. 



Nearly every summer I have been on a long canoe trip, 
lasting a week or two, with white gentlemen as passengers, 
and Indian canoe men; and nearly always I have found that 
before the end of the trip the Indians established themselves 
as the better gentlemen of the two. The white men would be 
impatient, cross, fretful, on account of mosquitoes, rain, cold, 
or the mishaps of travel; the Indians always preserved their 
equanimity in the most trying circumstances. No matter if 
they were packing very heavy loads, while the white gentlemen 
walked empty-handed; no matter if they were devoured by 
mosquitoes, while, their hands being full, they could not switch 
them off; no matter if the trail was horrible, encumbered with 
fallen logs, and they sinking to their middle in the swamps, 
weighed down by their heavy loads, while perhaps at the same 
time a sudden shower would fall; there never was a word 
nor a look of impatience, but they smiling as tranquilly as if 
it had been a good path and a sunny day. Their manhood 
would not allow them to demean themselves by showing the 
slightest fretfulness or impatience under any circumstances. 
Their conduct was a silent rebuke to their white brothers. 
Seeing them so petulant, so easily worried, often so unreason- 
able, they felt for them a good-natured contempt. 


Can the Indian rise to the standard of the white man? To 
answer this question, one looks backwards, and thinks of the 
Indians he has known; and as the picture of them rises before 
the memory, I have to confess that some of the best men I 
have ever known, and the freest from faults, were Indians. 
There, for instance, is Edward Reese, a full Indian, for twenty- 
years government teamster at Leech Lake. Industrious, faith- 
ful to every duty, a good neighbor, a kind father and husband, 
patient and forbearing, honest and loving, the Bweet spirit of 
Christ looking out of his face, in his daily life he has been an 
inspiration to every one who meets him, whether whites or 
Indians. "Running my mind over twentj years of Intimate 
knowledge of this man, 1 cannot recall an act, or a word even, 
that Edward Reese did or spoke, that was not a manly and a 
Christian act or word. Yes. one would have to go even far- 
ther than that, and say thai he never saw Edward Ree8e show 


a temper even, that was not a Christian temper. Of how 
many white men one knows can one say the same? Yet Ed- 
ward Reese is not a whit better than the old chief, David 
Kirk, of the same village. Kor is he any better than was the 
blacksmith, now deceased, Ke-zhi-osh. Nor was he any bet- 
ter than was old Rocky Mountain of Red Lake, or Shay-day - 
ence of White Earth, or a great many others, including some 
in every village. So the answer to that question, after sum- 
moning up witnesses to the bar of memory and trying the case, 
has to be, if it is the answer of truth, by one who knows them 
intimately, that even in one generation, and with all the dis- 
advantage of heredity and most unfavorable early surround- 
ings, a great many Indians are just as good, and as nearly per- 
fect characters as any white men or white women ever get 
to be. 

And what has been said above of the men applies equally to 
the women. They may not know how to dress as nicely, and 
not be so well acquainted with points of etiquette, but there 
are just as good women, and plenty of them, among the In- 
dians as there are in any white community. It would make 
this paper too long to give examples. 

But here a word of caution has to be put in. Every one 
of those I have been speaking of are Christians. I have rather 
a poor opinion of heathen character, and would not expect to 
find much that is lovable there; a few noble traits, perhaps, 
that show what the original edifice was intended to be, amidst 
a mass of ruins. There is not much that is desirable in the 
old life; nearly all has to be built up anew out of Christianity. 
I am not writing here an essay on Christianity or missions; 
so I pass that side of the question over entirely, only Baying 
that the most sincere, consistent, lovable and zealous Chris- 
tians I have ever known in my life were Indians. Some of 
them have passed away; a great many are still living. Nor 
do I speak of the Indian clergy still living, now eight in Dum- 
ber, who are all of them all that such men ought to be. Tak- 
ing it on the whole, I think that Shay-day-ence, who from 
being the great grand medicine man of the Ojibway nation ami 
a chief servant of Satan, became late in life a Christian ami 
a wonderful volunteer missionary, waa the most wonderful 
Indian I have known. Paul did not have a stranger conver- 


sion, nor a more burning zeal, than did old Shay-day-ence. 
There is a very imperfect sketch of him in this Society's Li- 
brary, so I will say no more of him. 

With what feelings does the Ojibway regard the coming 
of the white man into his vicinity? With a feeling of appre- 
hension, and a wish that he would not come. When the 
whites within the last five years were about to come near Cass 
lake, the chief, an excellent man, told me that he wished they 
would not come, because it would break in upon their "right- 
eousness of life." We, who saw how they lived, would not 
regard it in many respects as "righteousness of life;" but that 
was their feeling. 


How are the old treated by the Ojibways? Oftentimes a 
daughter will do a good deal for her aged parents; but a son 
cares very little for them (I am speaking of the heathen), and 
does less. It is with them as with ourselves, the women are 
a good deal better than the men. But it seems to be an un- 
written law among them that an old man, and especially an 
old woman, must shift for himself or herself somehow. They 
have a contempt for the aged and useless, like all heathen. 
The son never seems to think he is under any obligation to do 
anything for his aged father or mother. Nor do they make 
any complaint of him, for they do not seem to expect any- 
thing. And one always hears the complaint that food given 
by the government, or by charitable persons, does not get to 
the old persons for whom it was intended, but is eaten by the 
well and strong. 

Going a few years ago to the house of one of our Indian 
missionaries, I noticed an old heathen woman lying on the 
floor, who seemed so feeble she could not sit up. On inquiry 
it appeared that her son had told her, in the verv coldest of 
January, to go out of doors and make her bed in the snow, 
because he was afraid to sleep in the house with her, fearing 
that she was about to turn into a man-eating witch. That, 
of course, was only an excuse; the real reason was that he 
was tired of her, and yet she had been a good and devoted 
mother. So she had to go, and slept out several Dightt, and 
was so badly frozen that she died in the hospital to which we 
had her taken. The missionary and his wife had brought her 



to their house, as soon as they learned of it When dying 
she sent for her son, but he paid no attention to it, and left it 
to strangers to bury her. It excited no comment, nor was he 
apparently lowered in the estimation of the community in 
which he lived. Taking a general view, we must say that the 
old are badly neglected and have a hard time. One good old 
woman who was blind was generally reported to have starved 
to death, though her relatives, who were numerous, might 
easily have given her rabbits or a little something to eat. 


Tobacco is largely used by the Ojibways, men, women, and 
children. They smoke it mixed with the inner bark of the 
red willow, and also chew it. All the children think they 
must have their tobacco the same as their elders. The women 
from Cut-Foot-Sioux are the greatest chewers I have seen. 
Ordinarily the heathen man thinks he must have a plug as long 
as one's arm and as thick. It is doubtful, though, whether 
they use more of it than certain classes of our own people. 
I once asked the principal merchant at Leech Lake, how much 
money he took in in a year from the Indians for tobacco. 
He made a calculation, and said §2,000. There were three stores 
there, and if the others sold as much it would make §G,000 a 
year in that one village. There were about 1,000 persons 
around the lake, and perhaps two-thirds of them got their 
tobacco there. The total government annuities for 1,G00 In- 
dians were §10,G66. For a people as poor as they were, often 
starving, this was a serious drain on their resources, and it 
seems strange to us that they did not apply that $G,000 to 
food. An Indian at Leech lake lately went to a merchant and 
told him that he and his family were in such a state of abso- 
lute starvation that he must have five dollars' worth, on credit, 
to save them alive. The good-hearted merchant consented, 
and told him to name the kinds and amounts of provisions 
to take up the five dollars. The first item the man gave was 
tobacco, a dollar and a half. 


Although the Indian women, beginning early, bear so 

many children, comparatively few live to maturity. Ask any 


aged woman how many children she has had, and the answer 
will usually be from eight to twelve. Ask her how many are 
alive and the answer will usually be one, two, or none at all. 
The hardships of the life, cold, hunger, insufficient clothing, 
the carrying children to heathen dances, and the want of 
knowledge how to care for them in sickness, are the causes 
of their dying young. For instance, in the winter of 1ST3 
there was an epidemic of whooping cough in White Earth. I 
constantly saw children clad only in the cotton shirt, cotton 
leggings, and moccasins, standing in the road in the cold 
snowy weather, coughing violently with the whooping cough ; 
no wonder that over fifty died, out of a population of some 
hundreds, while out of the same number of people in the white 
town from which I had come, and where there had also been 
an epidemic of the same disease, not one had died. 


I have never known the adult heathen Ojibways to wash 
their bodies or bathe. The boys and girls and young people 
sometimes bathe, but never the grown up people that I have 
seen. As they all live in one-roomed houses, they have no 
facilities for doing so. Yet I have known some to live to 
ninety-two years, and some indeed to be considerably older, 
with very poor food, and in defiance of all sanitary laws, who 
1 am sure had not washed, except their faces and hands, for 
sixty years. They do not seem to think it necessary or ben- 
eficial. When children are taken into a boarding-school, there 
is apt to be a great fight with the parents to allow them to be 
washed, as they think that water will seriously injure them. 

The reason why they prefer the one-roomed house is on ac- 
count of the sociability and for greater warmth. They are 
gregarious. They love to see and hear each other, love laugh- 
ter and jests, and as they have no books or newspapers or any 
other means of passing their time, they find their amusement 
in eacli others society. It is therefore by preference and not 
from poverty that they have the one-roomed house. Then in 
their cold winter climate one room is much more easily heated 
than several. The chief of Cass lake, a Christian man, when 
his three daughters married, built for each one and her bus- 



band an addition to his house, a log room at the end, each 
room communicating by a door with the rest of the house. 
In this room the new family was installed, and so were private. 
But I have never known a heathen family to have more than 
one room, in any house they built themselves. The mission- 
aries and some of the Christians have more than one room, 
and in the new houses built by the Chippewa Commission 
within the last five years for the new removals to White 
Earth there was usually an upstairs part, which could be 
used as a sleeping room. But to the mass of the people the 
idea of shutting one person alone in a box of a bedroom seems 
an unnatural way, and far inferior to their own. They can 
sleep far better with the children crawling over them, and 
a warm fire at their feet. 


The Indians kill game at all seasons, everything that has 
life. All summer long they hunt deer by torchlight. A few 
years ago we sent an Indian clergyman to Cass lake in May, 
and in two months he killed twenty-five deer, mostly by torch- 
light, up the Mississippi, in his canoe. The Indians at the 
Narrows of Red lake, opposite to the Agency, killed in one 
fall, by actual count, eighty-seven moose, swimming in the 
lake, near their village, to escape from the flies. That was 
in 1887, I think. Last winter many Indians about Sandy lake 
had killed, by December, sixteen deer each since the snow fell. 
Manv of the Indians of the White Earth reservation killed 
that winter, of 1S9G-97, forty deer each, as owing to the un- 
usually deep snow the deer could not get away from them. 
They pursued them on snowshoes, and killed them with axes. 
I myself saw deer pursued and floundering in the deep snow, 
making very little headway. Last winter I was at the village 
of Home-returning-Cloud, near Leech lake, and found he was 
absent with most of the women. I learned that they had 
gone to pack home five moose, which he had killed about 
twenty miles away. He had previously killed two moose. 
One would think that this Indiscriminate slaughter of the 
deer and other animals winter and Bummer would result in 
their extermination; but, strange to say, their numbers have 


been constantly increasing within the Indian reservation, un- 
til last winter. For instance, when the Indian clergymen 
went to Red lake first in 1877, they noticed that it was a rare 
thing for any deer to be killed; there were very few deer, but 
afterward they kept constantly increasing, and the Indians 
every year kept killing more and more. This continual in- 
crease of the deer furnishes a curious confirmation of what 
the Indians are always saying, that "the Great Spirit always 
sends something for His Indian children, and seems to special- 
ly provide for their wants. He sends them the wild rice which 
they neither plant nor cultivate nor fence, but only reap, and 
He sends them many other things." I suppose the explana- 
tion of the increasing plentiness of the deer, notwithstanding 
the continual slaughter of them winter and summer, is that 
given by the Indians, namely, that as the country south be- 
comes settled the deer go north into the reservations, the only 
unsettled part of the country, and although so many are 
killed off they still keep coming in. It may be also, though 
the Indians do not say so, that the English working on the 
Canadian Pacific railway scare them down this way. But 
their numbers reached and passed the high water mark, I 
think, in 3896 and 1S07, in that last winter of deep snow, when 
almost every man was out after them, and many hunters, as 
has been said, killed forty each. 

Indians, as is well known, never leave any game for a fu- 
ture time, or for future needs, but kill everything in sight, 
even if they have so much flesh that they are unable to use it. 
Usually, all winter long, one can buy moose meat and venison 
in Red Lake village and Leech Lake for five cents a pound, 
and sometimes for much less. In the beginning of November 
most of the men move out and establish deer-hunting camps, 
and stay out till about the first of January. Heretofore about 
Cass lake has been the best place for deer and moose. Some 
reindeer were also killed there several years ago, but very 
few of late years. In a letter to the state fire warden a few 
years ago I gave an estimate, made with the aid of the beat- 
Informed Indians, of the numbers of door annually killed by 
the Indians of the different Tillages, and it ran op into manj 
thousands. The deer and moose skins are all Utilised tor 



moccasins. The Mille Lacs people have so many that they can 
sell; those in the other villages keep them for their own use. 
The Ojibway justly prefers the moccasin, winter and summer, 
to any other foot-wear. 


The Ojibways, like Indians everywhere, have no feeling 
whatever for the sufferings of animals. They always allow 
numbers of domestic animals to starve in winter and spring, 
though with two or three days of labor they might cut hay 
enough to keep them fat Very often they do not house them; 
and the oxen and ponies stand out night and day for weeks 
when the cold is thirty or forty degrees below zero. It is 
pitiful also to see the starving creatures wandering through 
the villages, as Leech Lake, trying to eat horse dung that has 
a little straw or old hay mixed with it It never seems to 
occur to the Indians to feel the least pity for their sufferings. 
Towards spring especially is the time when most of the cattle 
and ponies die of starvation. All around are native hay mead- 
ows, and in one day a man should cut grass enough to feed a 
horse or an ox for a year. One of the evil effects of maple 
sugar-making is that when they move from their homes to 
the sugar woods, they abandon any animals they do not use 
to transport them there; so the cattle, hogs, or ponies, being 
turned out into the deep snow and having nothing either to 
eat or drink, wander about, unsheltered and starving, till they 
die. This continual loss of cattle and ponies, every year, crip- 
ples them very much, as may be imagined, in their feeble ef- 
forts at farming. 

The winter of 189G-97, on account of its deep snow, was 
unusually disastrous to the cattle and ponies. Some Indians 
had cut and stacked some hay on the meadows a few miles from 
where they lived, but had not hauled it home; and when the 
snow became deep, the ponies, being feeble, were unable to haul 
it, and so they nearly all died. At Cass lake there were only 
two or three ponies that survived; they nearly all died at 
Red lake, on the White Earth reservation. e*erywhdie Scae 
tried to keep them alive by feeding then I ram lies of uves; 
but, as may be Imagined, with poor success. One weak: won 


der that, with the continual hard treatment every winter, and 
the great numbers that starve, there are any ponies left; but 
the explanation is that they get a fresh supply of ponies every 
summer from the Sioux, who abound in ponies. Most of the 
Ojibway men have their women make quantities of their beau- 
tiful bead-work every winter and store it up. When summer 
comes, the husband carries it to the Sioux country, and brings 
back as many ponies as he had tobacco-pouches (kashkibita- 
gunug). One of the bead-work pouches is the great ornament 
of an Ojibway, and any person wearing it is considered to be 
in full dress; it is worth a pony among the Sioux. Thus the 
stock of horses is every summer replenished. The Ojibways 
are not horse Indians; naturally they have no horses, except- 
ing those they get from the Sioux. 

The United States government occasionally has issued 
yokes of oxen, perhaps twelve yokes at a time, to as many 
Red Lake Indians. With these they hauled freight for the 
government, from the then nearest railroad station, Detroit, 
100 to 110 miles distant; and later, when the railroad was built 
to Fosston, from that place, 65 miles. They, of course, camped 
out by the way. The roads were in many places shocking, 
and, between the severity of the labor and the want of feed 
and care, the oxen were usually all dead within two years. 
Oxen were often similarly issued to the White Earth Indians ; 
and they, too, often starved to death, from their owners not 
making hay for them in summer. Then instead of using them 
for farming they were used to take their families to Indian 
dances, at great distances, as Leech Lake, 94 miles, Red Lake, 
90 miles, or to the Sioux country, several hundred miles; and 
on such trips they were very poorly fed, and were otherwise 
abused. It is no wonder, therefore, that usually the oxen 
soon all died. They were used also to carry their owners ami 
families where the different berries abounded, as they became 
ripe, often fifty or sixty miles distant. 

Cpw^ were also issued to the White Earth Indians, but 
they never milked them, as they do not care for milk ami never 
dr^nk.i^; T-ie fir^t .Indian agent, E. P, Smith, who was there 
in 1SV2 and 1873, being a man of moat admirable judgment, 

bought the finest cattle of the host breeds and Issued them to 



the Indians. The consequence was that in the following years 
visitors from St. Paul and other places, who were judges of 
stock, said that the cattle which they saw in summer grazing 
on the White Earth reservation were the finest they had ever 
seen in their lives. Within a few years broncho men have 
brought in that kind of horses, and traded them to the Indians 
for their cattle and got away from them nearly all that re- 
mained. The bronchos enable them to get about quicker, 
visiting Sioux or going to dances, but are worthless for farm- 
ing purposes. The genuine Indian pony (not the broncho) is 
the toughest thing in the world, and it is astonishing what 
loads the Indians will haul with them. The Indians at Leech 
Lake, for many years, hauled flour and goods for the mer- 
chants and supplies for the government, first from Brainerd, 
68 miles distant, and later from Park Rapids, 45 miles. The 
roads for part of the way were indescribably bad, the wagons 
frequently sinking to the hub. Yet with small ponies and 
heavy wagons they managed to haul loads of from eighteen to 
twenty-two hundred weight. I do not think any white men 
could have got those loads over such roads with those small 
ponies. They kept at them day and night, often when they 
were staggering from weakness, until they got them to Leech 
Lake. The prices paid them were perhaps from 50 to 75 
cents a hundred, from Park Rapids. 


The Ojibways are good walkers. The Rev. Mark Hart left 
Red Lake at two o'clock in the afternoon of a November day, 
camped on the road about thirty-four miles out and the next 
evening was at my house, eighty or ninety miles from Red 
Lake. He thought nothing of it. They do not consider walk- 
ing work. Even children of six years will walk twenty-live 
miles in a day for several days in succession and do not seem 
to mind it. Rev. Mark Hart's son, six years old, walked from 
Cass Lake to Red Lake, forty-five miles, in two days, and slept 
out on the road. I have known Indians to leave Red lake at 
noon, and get to the shore of Leech lake by midnight, the 
distance being sixty-live miles. 


Old Rocky Mountain, living at Red Lake, heard that his 
annuity money, five dollars, was at White Earth, some ninety 
miles distant, and started to walk there to get it. He was 
between eighty and ninety years of age. When he got to the 
Twin lakes, sixty-five miles distant, on the second day out, 
he learned that the money had been returned to Washington. 
Consequently he turned and in the next two days walked back 
to Red Lake, walking on the last day forty miles. He said 
he was not a particle tired when he got back, but was skip- 
ping about bringing pails of water. His son, who was with 
him, was tired. The same old man used to walk every year, 
at payment time, from Red Lake to Leech Lake, nearly seventy 
miles, and back, to receive his annuity, which was five dol- 
lars, camping out in all weathers. 

These Indians enumerate the great walkers who have been 
among them in the last two hundred years. One was an 
Ojibway, one a Frenchman, and the third James Lloyd Breck, 
the first missionary of the Episcopal Church among them. He 
walked in one day from the old agency near Crow Wing to 
Leech lake, and back the next, a distance of seventy miles 
each way. He was always doing such things, but never spoke 
of them and never thought of them. The Indians acknowledge 
that he could outwalk any of them. He walked so fast that 
they had to run to keep up with him. When I was coming 
once from Leech lake, and stopping for dinner at Pine river, 
thirty-four miles distant, an old Indian appeared, pursuing 
us, with a letter that had been forgotten. He delivered it, 
and turned round to trot home again, another thirty-four 
miles, when one of the party kindly sent him into the hotel to 
get his dinner. He was an old man, of about sixty years. 

Along in the 70's and SO's the mail was carried by an Ojib- 
way on foot from White Earth to Red Lake, and back, once 
a week. The distance between the places is 80 or 90 miles, 
and was through an uninhabited wilderness, with only one 
house on the way. On Monday the man usually walked 26 or 
32 miles, and camped; the next day he walked 32 or 40 miles, 
and camped; the third day he arrived at Red Lake by uoon. 
After resting a day he repeated the trip by return to White 
Earth. His mail sack weighed sometimes Prom 60 to 7T> 



pounds; and in addition he had to carry his provisions and 
blanket. In winter the roads were deep with snow, the trail 
hardly broken, and in summer he was devoured night and 
day by mosquitoes, and could only live at all by switching his 
neck and face constantly with twigs and leaves. He was paid 
one dollar a day, and his provisions. Usually one Indian car- 
ried the mail only a little time, when he gave way to another/ 
Allan Jourdan, now deceased, a half-breed, carried it the 
longest, three months. Once while the poor exhausted car- 
rier was sleeping at Wild Rice river, his clothing caught fire 
from his camp fire, and his limbs were dreadfully burned. He 
was carried by men on a litter to White Earth, and after a 
long illness recovered. 

To illustrate how the Indians look on walking, even the 
most severe, as no work, I may tell the remark of an old 
blind woman, Bugwudj-ique (The Woman of the Wilderness). 
She was in my study when an Indian, the Red Lake mail-car- 
rier, came in. After some conversation, she found he was a 
relative and tenderly kissed him. Then she asked him what 
he did for a living. He told her he carried the mail. "O — o," 
said she, using the woman's long drawn out exclamation of 
surprise, "isn't that nice, no work at all to do; only to pick 
up your money at the end of the road." 


Many Indians live to ninety years and upwards, in con- 
stant suffering from hunger, lack of clothing, and cold, and in 
the most unsanitary conditions. In 1897 died Nindibewinini, 
at the age of ninety-two years. He was the Leech Lake In- 
dian who in 1839 remained behind, hiding in ambush, after the 
treaty of peace near Fort Snelling, and killed the Sioux, bring- 
ing as a result the disastrous battle in Battle Hollow at 
Stillwater, and another battle, which proved fatal to more 
than a hundred Ojibways. For many years his life was in 
danger from the rage of those who had lost relatives on that 
disastrous day. Though often urged, he never would become 
a Christian, saying that he had been the eause of too much 
blood having been shed, that God would not forgive him. 
The oldest man who has died in the present generation was 


Gegwedjisa (Trying to Walk, as nearly as it can be translated) 
of Leech Lake, who was considered by the traders, after care- 
ful investigation, to be a hundred and fifteen years old. Con- 
versing with him about twelve or fifteen years ago, I found 
that he perfectly remembered General Pike's visit to Leech 
lake, which was in February, 1806, and described him. Being 
asked at what age he was then, he said he was married and 
had a daughter "so high/' running about He was probably 
twenty-five years old then. Indians never know their age, but 
describe themselves as being "so high," if it was in their child- 
hood, when some noted event happened, such as "when the 
Indians nearly all died of the small-pox," or "at the time of 
the great sickness caused by the rotten flour issued after the 

Old Shay-day-ence told me that when a child he remem- 
bered seeing old men with the hair of their heads all pulled 
out (such as we see in the pictures of Indians) and only the 
scalp lock left. He said the old fellows used to come into the 
wigwam where he was, and, bowing, as it were, alternately to 
one side and the other, would say in a deep guttural voice, 
"Oongh, oongh." He said he was mortally afraid of them and 
their smooth scalps. He said the hair was pulled out very 
quickly, a handful at a time, and that it caused them very lit- 
tle pain. The same old man was once with me in St Paul, 
about the year 1882, I think, and we sat on a hill, the Park 
Place property, I believe, overlooking the city. For some time 
he did not recognize the place, it was so changed by the build- 
ings; then all of a sudden it came back to him and he rec- 
ognized it "There," said he, pointing to a certain place, "was 
Little Crow's village; and there was where the road led out 
of his village into the country, and it was beside that road that 
two Indians and I were secreted, when two women, I think, 
and a man, not suspecting any danger, came out along the 
path and were killed and scalped by our party, who then made 
off to the Ojibway country." Such was life in St. Paul at 
that early time. He did not say that he killed any of them, 
and I hope he did not; but even If he did, being a heathen man 
at that time, and a recognized stair of war existing, and [\ br- 
ing according to their ideas of right or even merit) W€ should 
be slow to pronounce judgment in the ease. 


When the Ojibway man works, strange to say, he works 
very fast, much faster than a white man. Perhaps that is 
one reason why they so soon get tired of it and give it up, 
because they exert themselves so strongly while they are at 
it This is seen, for example, in hoeing a field. The. men, and 
the women also, are excellent with the ax, being trained to it 
from earliest infancy. . When some boys whom I sent to school 
were in Illinois, the people there used to turn out to see those 
boys chop. Though it was a wooded country, none there 
could handle the ax as they. 

Ojibways hired in a logging camp usually do not stay very 
long; a week or two, till they get a little money ahead. Then 
they go home to spend it and rest. This is a relic of the old 
life, when a period of violent exertion was succeeded by a pro- 
louged rest. Occasionally, however, one will be found who 
will stay in a logging camp all winter. The lumbermen say 
that while they do work they are as good hands as any. They 
like working with the ax better than almost any other labor. 

One kind of work they excel in and are particularly fond 
of, river-driving. The excitement, the continual change, just 
suits them. Monotony in anything they cannot stand. The 
constant repetition of performing the same act over, over and 
over again, as white people do, for instance, in manufactur- 
ing, is insupportable to them. 

Contrary to what would be supposed, the Ojibway excels 
the white man in making a farm or garden, when he wants 
to do it; not in wheat- farming, however, or such farming as 
he has not been used to, but such as he knows, vegetable rais- 
ing. A skilled white farmer and gardener went on a journey 
of a hundred and twenty miles through the white man's coun- 
try from Gull Lake settlement to Hubbard and back; and he 
told me the best gardens by far that he saw on the road were 
Indians* gardens. The white men could not begin to equal 
them. Similarly a resident of Bemidji, an old farmer. told 
nie that the best garden in all that region was that raised by 
Bhenaw-ishkunk, the old ojibway who had always lived on 
the town-site of Bemidji. The Indian lias nonius; he cao do 


anything he wants to, and his genius shows in tihe looks of 
his garden, even though it be a small spot he cultivates. 


The Ojibways have, in their own language, no word of 
salutation at meeting or parting. They have, however, adopt- 
ed from the French the phrase, "Bon jour." As there is no 
"r" in their language, the nearest they can come to it is "Bo 
zhoo," which is now their salutation at meeting and parting. 
However, when a guest is leaving, the proper thing to say to 
him is "Madjan, madjan" (go, go). Often I have seen Ojibways 
who were good friends and had not seen each other for a long 
time meet unexpectedly on the trail in the woods, look at 
each other affectionately for quite a long time, and then pass 
on without a single word being said on either side, not even 
"bo zhoo." 

Some of the Indians have a very Chinese cast of features. 
The way the eyes are set, and the color of the skin, leave no 
doubt of a Chinese or Japanese origin. I saw one Indian 
near Winnibigoshish who in his looks seemed to me as verita- 
ble a Chinaman as any that ever left China. 


When the O jib way pays a visit to a white man, his time 
is any time from the dawn till after bedtime, and he enjoys 
making a good long visit, of many hours' duration or all day. 
This is because he has no particular business to call him away, 
and he is deliberate in all his movements. If a man, he smokes 
his long-stemmed Indian pipe a good part of the time, and 
talks. Smoking seems to assist his mental operations; and 
when anything difficult is to be thought out he instinctively 
reaches for his pipe. He does not need to be entertained, as 
a white visitor would, with small talk; he is content to sit 
and think, and absorb the, to him, unfamiliar surroundings. 
However, like every other man, he is pleased at being occa- 
sionally spoken to, and taken notice of. 

When a woman pays a visit she docs not need, as a white 
woman, to be amused or entertained; she will sit for hours 



saying nothing, but perfectly satisfied, taking in everything, 
the appearance of the house, the manner of housekeeping, the 
people. It would be a bore to her to be talked to. She has 
come there to enjoy herself in her own quiet way by looking. 
White women at first, think they must entertain their Indian 
sister visitor by talking to her, as they would to a white 
visitor; but soon they find out the better way, namely, to let 
her alone. If she is talked to' she answers in monosyllables, 
and manifests no wish to keep up an animated conversation. 
But all the time she is taking in everything. By and by, 
after she has sat perhaps for hours, and not before, she will 
tell what she has come for, get it, and leave. In the same 
way a man will sit a long time, and not tell his business; or, if 
asked, will merely say that he came "for nothing." By and 
by, when he is ready to leave, he will at last do his errand. 

Indians are much more deliberate in thinking and in speak- 
ing than white people. We know how fast white people, 
women especially, will sometimes chatter, talking fast, three 
or four at once. Oftentimes no thinking seems to accompany 
the speaking. The Indian always thinks as he speaks, and 
only speaks so far as he thinks. There is a volume of small 
talk among us that is absent among them. With them is 
deliberation. For instance, if one goes into the house or wig- 
wam, and makes the formal friendly inquiry, "Are yon all 
well?" the man or woman thinks a considerable time before 
answering, and then gives the exact state of the health of the 
family. With us it would be answered as unthinkingly as 
it is asked. The same deliberation and thought of what is 
said runs through all their intercourse. There are some wom- 
en, never men, who talk at once and somewhat fast, but rare- 
ly so. 


If the women have a piece of work to do, as washing a 
church floor, or anything else, they like to do it as a frolic. I 
number joining together in it, and making it easy by continual 
jokes and laughter. To do it alone would seem much harder. 

In doing any work, or anything rise, an Indian cannot be 
forced or driven; he can only bo Led, and allowed to do it 


voluntarily. If attempted to be driven, he will simply stop, 
and not do anything, and he cannot be compelled. For in- 
stance, my wife, who had Indian girls to help in the housework 
for many years, found that if she would say to an Indian girl, 
as she would to a white girl, "Do this now," pointing out some 
piece of work, however simple, she could not get it done. But 
if she would show it to the girl, and say that she wished it 
done, and go off and leave her alone for five minutes, she 
would find it done when she came back. The Indian nature 
rebels against being driven to do anything, but must do it vol- 
untarily if at all. So all people who have sense never try to 
drive Indians to anything. By leading them to it, it can be 
got done. That is the way they are made; no people in the 
world so unlikely candidates for slaves as they. Every In- 
dian is innately proud and rebels against obeying any direct 

Indian girls do not take naturally to housework. The 
monotony of doing the same acts over and over again, as wash- 
ing dishes, cooking, etc., is insupportable to them. Conse- 
quently a few weeks of it is as much as they usually can stand. 
The old life was a life of continual change and excitement; 
the treadmill comes hard. My wife has never found any In- 
dian woman who could do three good days' work in a week; 
a few can do two, but the majority can only brace up once a 
week to do a real good day's work. 

In an Indian village where there are hundreds of women 
and girls, very poor and very much in need of everything, 
there are yet very few or none at all whom one can get even 
to attempt to do any housework. For instance, I have known 
the government blacksmith at Leech Lake, where there uiust 
have been hundreds of women and girls, scour the white man's 
country for a distance of sixty-five miles from Leech Lake try- 
ing to hire a white girl to help in the housework. No girl 
or woman at Leech Lake could be hired. People may think 
that when they go to the Indian country they will be waited 
on like lords; but the truth is that each one must do every- 
thing for himself. A very high price must be paid, and very 
imperfect service will be rendered, if at all. 


Time does not run in the Indian country. One may make 
all arrangements, for instance, to start on a journey at a cer- 
tain hour, but when the time comes a great many things will 
be found to be wanting, and the start cannot be made. The 
canoe has not been made watertight with pitch, or paddles are 
wanting, or provisions, or something, or many things. There 
is no use in fretting or fuming; it is the custom of the country, 
and the only thing to do is to fall in with it. The Indian is 
a leisurely man, and does not wish to be hurried; in fact, he 
does not hurry, and there is no use in trying to hurry him. It 
will only make things worse. There is plenty of time; one 
day will do just as well as another, or one time as well as 
another. So the traveler has need of patience, and must con- 
form to the ideas of the people. 

If the traveler wishes some piece of work done, and tells 
his head man to have it done at once, he will probably not 
get it done in that way. The head man will answer that he 
will, after a while, call his men together, and they will talk it 
over. They will have a sort of council over it and smoke, and 
then do it. The men are all admirable canoemen and pack- 
ers, and will do a good day's work, but in their own way, 
and according to their ideas. 


One of the things about the Ojibways that seems strange to 
us is the mystical importance attaching to a name, and the 
concealment of names. No Ojibway man or woman will tell 
his name, unless he has become Very much Americanized. If 
a name has to be given, say to be put to some document, and 
the man is asked his name, he will not give it; but, after a 
long period of hesitation and embarrassment, he will indicate 
some other man who will tell his name. That man, finally, 
after prolonged consideration, mentions it, and when it comos 
out, a sensation goes over the assembly as if some grout sin rot 
had been let out. So in a store, if the name of the intending 
debtor be not known to the Storekeeper, and he lias to know 
it to charge the goods, he asks, with a manner Indicating 
profound secrecy, some one else to tell him the man s name, 


and it is given to him in a whisper, as a great secret Often 
I have asked a man his wife's name, and after long hesitation 
he would confess that he had never heard it. On questioning, 
he would admit that he had been married to her fifteen or 
twenty years. This secrecy is about their Ojibway name; 
about their English name, if they have any, they have no such 

The reason of this reticence, which seems so queer to us, is 
that by them great importance is attached, as in the Old 
Testament, to a name; that the names all mean something, 
as Abraham, father of a multitude, Isaac, laughter, Jacob, 
supplanter, and that the name is given as a religious act. So 
a father says to his son, "My son, I give you this name; it has 
a spiritual signification; it is to you a sacred thing; the spirits 
give it to you; if you make light of it, or mock it, or disclose 
it, I do not say that the Great Spirit will kill you, but you 
will have disgraced yourself." Hence is the concealment of 
names, the reverence with which names are regarded. 


The heathen Indian does not have the regard to a promise 
on his part, or to his pledged word, that tradition on that sub- 
ject would make us believe. While it is true that treaties are 
not first broken by him, it is also true that in ordinary things 
he does not consider his word or engagement very binding on 
him. His promise to do anything, or to return money loaned, 
or to work, or an engagement, in fact his promise in anything, 
sits very lightly upon him. It is a little singular that in the 
face of this it is his habit to hold the white man very strictly 
to his promises to him, and to the very time, moment, and 
every particular circumstance. He is not willing to admit 
any excuse, and will hold him to it to the very last point. It 
is proper to say, though, that women, as with ourselves, are 
a great deal more reliable than men, for if one loans a small 
sum of money to an Ojibway woman, the chances are that 
she will pay it. The opposite is more probable with the man. 
I have always found, too, more of the milk of human kindliest 
in old women than in any other class. Lot one be lost, or 


suffering, or belated, or cold, or needing direction, and he will 
find the old woman one who will help him, more probably 
than any one else. Perhaps their own long experience of 
great suffering has taught them compassion for others. 


When a white man approaches a camp of heathen' Indians, 
they will often call out from a long distance, as far as they 
can see him, "We are very hungry; we are starving to death; 
we have not eaten a morsel for three days." At the same 
time they laugh heartily and slap their thighs, as if it was the 
best joke in the world. Likewise they often tell their visitors, 
with great insistence, of their extreme poverty, and the hunger 
they suffer. They seem to think there is a special merit in it, 
in fact seem proud of it. Their poverty is a favorite subject 
of talk with them. Often two families will chaff each other, 
in a good-natured way, about it. 

From the habit, in former times, of United States Indian 
agents and military officers, to give something to the Indians 
when they met them, it has come now to be very natural for 
the heathen Indians to expect the white man to give them 
something, as food or money, when he meets them, and they 
are apt to ask him for it, but especially for tobacco. From 
that old custom, the first thought that naturally arises now 
in the heathen man's mind, when he sees a white man ap- 
proaching, is that he will get something from him. Knowing 
also that the white man is so rich, and they so poor, naturally 
strengthens that feeling. 


The Indians, strange to say, are not prone to assist each 
other in misfortune or necessity, as other people are. Where, 
for instance, a number are hauling loads together, with teams, 
and something befalls one, the others are apt to pass him by 
and leave him to shift for himself as best he can. Two or 
three years ago an old man and his wife were about eighteen 
miles from the White Earth Agency, when in attempting to 
mount his horse he broke his thigh. They had live horoefi, 



and they had to give an Indian who was there one of those 
horses, before he would take a message to the doctor, only 
eighteen miles distant. It was worth about a dollar to do it. 
That is about the usual way; they are apt to exact a very 
high and extortionate price for anything they do for each 

This brings to mind also that they are very calculating 
and mercenary. A thing is never done out of generosity or 
goodness, but with an eye to advantage. If one gives a pres- 
ent, for instance, to another, it is calculated that by a return 
present, or in some other way, a greater advantage is to ac- 
crue to the giver. It is true that they share food with any 
one who comes, so long as they have it; and in that way, if 
one happens to be industrious and have food, he is eaten out 
of house and home by a multitude of idle ones who flock there 
for that purpose. Apart from that custom of hospitality, 
they are not given to be generous in assisting each other, and 
from the unfortunate they are ready to exact the highest rate. 

They are also apt to be very jealous of any one, as a sick 
person or one in misfortune, having his or her wants relieved. 
They feel that they also ought to have a similar amount, or 
even try to get it away from the sick person. In this, as in 
so many other instances, I am speaking of the heathen Indians. 

Their sense of humor and of the ludicrous is exceedingly 
keen, more so than in our own race. No people are quicker 
than they to see the funny side of anything; and no people 
laugh at it more. They are capital at telling funny stories, 
and thoroughly enjoy fun. They seek after it constantly; 
they brighten their lives with it. Some of them are what 
one would call "jolly" always. 


The heathen dance, with the beating of the drum, exer- 
cises a wonderful fascination over the Indians. When they 
become Christians, they themselves understand that they give 
up the heathen dance, for the two are the opposites of each 
other; but yet they are drawn into it again and again. There 
seems to be a chord that carries the throbbing of the drum 
into the Indian's heart. The drummers sit in the center. 



chanting; the men start up, and dance round them, excited, 
quivering, whooping. They go through all the motions of 
sighting, pursuing, killing, and scalping an enemy; and it is 
most interesting to see them. Then there is an interval or 
rest; the drums cease, the dancers sit down, and all is quiet. 
Next some man dressed in ancient Indian garb, nearly naked, 
painted, with feathers in his hair and a tomahawk- in his 
hand, gets into the arena and makes an address. The never- 
exhausted subject of the addresses is about killing and scalp- 
ing enemies, perhaps tearing out their hearts and drinking the 
blood. As the man describes how the shot brought down the 
enemy, or how the tomahawk cleft his skull, the drum gives a 
sympathetic tap, as each life goes out When he has finished, 
the drums start with redoubled vehemence, the drummers ac- 
companying them with a high-pitched chant; while a circle of 
women singers outside add their shrill voices. The men are 
dressed in moccasins, cotton leggings which leave the thighs 
bare, breech-clouts, and perhaps shirts, perhaps none. Strings 
of beads adorn their bodies, skunk skins are tied under their 
knees, and strings of sleigh bells are wound round their ankles 
or waists. Their faces have all the colors of the rainbow; 
and their hair is stiff with pomatum. After they have danced 
again, there is silence once more, and another orator rises. 
This time the address may be about something of the present 
that is uppermost on their minds, some grievance under which 
they are laboring, or some important project that is on hand. 
At the dances all important things are discussed; and if there 
be any deviltry on hand, there is the place where they work 
themselves up to it. The dance is the arena where they strive 
to outshine each other in eloquence, in boldness of design; and 
where, in the originality of their projects, they bid for popu- 
lar favor. 

In the excitement of the dance, moreover, and in order 
to gain the reputation of great men, they give away their 
property to each other, a horse, a blanket, a gun, anything 
they have. The man, as he goes capering round the ring and 
whooping, looking here and there as if he wai uncertain what 
to do, suddenly sticks a rod in the ground before another 
man. That is the pledge of a horse that lie gives to that 


man, and then all the others look on him with admiration; 
he is strong-hearted and brave; he does not mind giving away 
the only horse he has. It is wonderful how the excitement 
of the dance works on them to give away all they have. I 
have known a government employee to go and strip the bed 
clothing from his wife's bed, and give it away in the dance. 
That is one reason why they keep up the dance, to get -pres- 
ents. The little children from the schools, if there are any 
schools, are there, imitating their elders; they have jumped out 
the school windows to get to the dance, and are taking off 
their school clothes, given them by the United States govern- 
ment or by charitable persons, and are giving them away. 

Off to one side of the dance is a. group of perhaps thirty 
men, who do not seem to care for it, but are engaged in some- 
thing more substantial. They are gambling. Every dance 
appears to require a gambling annex. Outside the circle of 
the actual dancers are large numbers of spectators, both men 
and women, who sometimes join in, but some are merely 

When night has drawn a veil, then commences a sad scene 
of debauchery between the sexes. That is one of the prin- 
cipal reasons for having the dance; and that, as well as the 
gambling annex and other things, is considered to be proper 
and a legitimate part of the carousal. The dance and the 
drum are the religion of the heathen Indians. Ask a man 
what religion he is of, and he will reply that he belongs in 
the dance. 

The next day one will see the household goods violently 
cast out of a cabin, and will hear sounds of violent quarreling 
within. The husband and wife were at the dance last night; 
one was unfaithful, and this is the breaking up of the family. 
All the young girls get ruined in the excitement of the dance 
as they grow up. When a Christian man begins to dance, or 
a farmer, he loses manhood, industry, every inanly quality, 
and speedily goes back to the blanket and the wigwam again. 

The fascination of the dance carries them long distances, 
perhaps a hundred miles, on foot, men and women, to the 
next Indian village to dance. I have soon the women go from 
Pine Point to Leech Lake, sixty-live miles, to dance, in the 


dead of winter, wading through snow up to their knees, over 
an unbroken trail that I could not go through with my ponies 
till they broke the road; yet they carried their children on 
their backs, and dragged some of them through the snow, 
packing their blankets and provisions, pots and kettles, and 
camping out every night. And when they arrived at Leech 
Lake, they were as proud of jumping higher, or of showing 
off some new touch in which they thought they excelled, as 
any belle among us. 

The authorities, as in Canada, should long ago have pro- 
hibited the heathen dance, as the very antipodes of all civiliza- 
tion and of all progress; instead of that, most of the Indian 
agents, caring nothing for the Indians, notwithstanding the 
entreaties of the missionaries, have given it full swing or en- 
couraged it. The winter before the Wounded Knee outbreak, 
a party of fifty of the worst Sioux came to White Earth 
Agency, and taught the Ojibways the . new "Sioux dance," 
which caught among them like wildfire. In spite of the re- 
monstrances of the missionaries that they should be sent home, 
they were furnished with passes to go to every village of the 
Ojibways, and were fed with government provisions. Yet the 
Goths and Vandals did not play any more havoc with the civ- 
ilization of the Roman Empire than those fellows did with 
everything that the government should do, and that the mis- 
sionaries were trying to do for them. By the new dances they 
introduced, the practice of which lived for years and until 
the present time, they did more harm to the Ojibways than 
all the money the government expended on them did them 
good. Later the government ordered all Sioux excluded; but 
the agents allowed them there just the same, and sometimes 
encouraged them. 


In 1872 there was a most admirable Indian agent over the 
Ojibways, under whom they made progress that was most 
wonderful, the Rev. E. P. Smith. He surrounded himself with 
employees who were like himself, and under them the Indians 
progressed like something growing. But lu 4 was promoted to be 
United States Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and for a time 


the progress stopped. Soon another equally admirable agent 
came, Hon. Lewis Stowe. He and his excellent wife were like 
a father and mother to the Indians, and did everything for 
them that love and devotion and ability could do. They were 
the Indians' dear and loving friends. He was a practical 
farmer, a practical carpenter; and one could see him out in 
the field all the time with the Indians, showing them how to 
plow, how to do all kinds of work. A better agent never went 
among the Indians, nor one who knew better how to raise 
them than Major Stowe; and if he could have had his own 
way and been sustained, he could have brought them to any- 
thing. But he was worried, hounded, and abused by inter- 
ested parties; and at the end of .his term he had to leave. 
There has since been one admirable agent, Col. T. J. Sheehan, 
the hero of Fort Eidgely, and he had exactly the same experi- 
ence as the other two agents, Smith and Stowe. Col. Shee- 
han's heart was fully set in him to do the Indians good, and 
he knew exactly how to set about it. He had a natural faculty 
of being an admirable Indian agent. He was very energetic, 
was kind and just to all, and kept a sort of mother's hand 
over everything. But the same influence that had spoiled the 
salvation of the Indians under agents Smith and Stowe were 
opposed to him, and he had to leave. 

Besides these three admirable agents, there have been six 
others, nine in all; and what sort of men they were and what 
sort of administrations they gave may be sufficiently under- 
stood by its being stated that they were politicians, appointed 
by politicians, as a reward for political services. Under them 
everything that had been done under Smith, Stowe, and Shee- 
han, went down. The Indians largely gave up farming and 
civilization; fields were abandoned; and they went back to old 
heathen dances and heathen ways. Those of the missionaries 
who tried could not make head against the maladministration 
of the agents and their employees. One of those agents was 
fair; the rest were the poorest that could be imagined, and 
their influence upon the Indians was disastrous. Some of 
them openly encouraged the Indians to go back to the old 
heathen dances and ways. The employees of those agents 
naturally took their tone from them, so all government in- 


fluenee was on the side of demoralization. There were such 
agents and such influences reigning for about sixteen out of 
the last twenty-live years. There were three good agents, one 
fair, and five of the kind spoken of. Politics has been the 
curse of the Indian service, and giving the Indians into the 
charge of such men and such employees has blighted them. 
The good agents were most bitterly fought, and the govern- 
ment relieved two of them; the evil agents were left in peace 
and quiet, and the government usually allowed them to com- 
plete their terms. 

At Red Lake a typical event occurred. In 1872 and 1873, 
an admirable son of Vermont was agent, a one-armed soldier 
of his country, Major Pratt. Like Smith, Stowe, and Sheehan. 
his devotion to the Indians and his success were remarkable. 
While everything was in the full swing of progress, there 
walked in one day a creature, and presented a paper to Pratt, 
superseding him. He was almost broken-hearted, went to 
the President and showed him his sleeve emptied at Bull Run, 
proved to him the progress made, and that there had been no 
single complaint; but all was in vain. He went back to milk- 
ing cows in Vermont, squeezing two teats in his remaining 
hand, and the Red Lake Indians have never had a good agent 
since. The man who superseded him soon gave a sample of 
what he was by trying all ways to marry an Indian woman of 
bad character, though he had a wife still living in the Ease 
Reviewing this quarter of a century, we must pronounce the 
United States treatment of the Indians as bad, owing to their 
being handed over to be the prey of politicians. 

The good thing that the government has done in the last 
twenty-five years is in educating many Indian children, but 
mostly those of mixed blood, in schools. Here again for polit- 
ical purposes a great mistake was made in having these 
schools mostly away from the reservations, so that the con- 
gressmen's constituents could get the money used in the erec- 
tion and carrying on of the schools, instead of having them 
right among the Indians where they live. Communities of 
many hundreds of Indians were thus left without schools, 
every child being allowed to grow up in idleness, ignorance, 
and vice, starving and freezing; while somewhere at hundreds 


of miles distance, and where not an Indian lived within miles 
and miles, a costly building was put up at an expense of per- 
haps $50,000, which money alone, if used where it ought to 
have been used, would have supplied every Indian settlement 
with a modest school, costing §5,000, sufficient for their needs. 
The consequence of this policy, which was oftentimes really 
a policy to benefit some congressman's constituents under the 
guise of educating Indians, is that the mixed-bloods, mostly 
French, got all the benefit, for they sent their children away 
to those schools; but the full-blood Indians, who loved their 
children too dearly to let them go far away from them, got 
very little benefit. 


Bishop Whipple, Judge Wright, and Mr. Larrabee, along 
in the 80's, negotiated a most excellent treaty with the Indians 
for their pine and lands. It was the best that could have 
been framed, both for the Indians and for the whites. Inter- 
ested parties, who did not see their way to getting what they 
wanted under that treaty, found means to break it up, and 
thereby inflicted a crushing blow upon the Indians. Then 
the same parties clamored for ex-Senator Rice to make the 
proper kind of a treaty for them. He, with Bishop Martin 
Marty, did so, and, with the best intentions on their part, they 
made a treaty that has worked very disastrously to the In- 
dians. To instance one provision of it, the promising them an 
annuity for fifty years was done to please the Indian traders, 
who wanted the money. The practical effect of it upon the 
Indians was, as every one who knew them foresaw would be 
the case, to make them almost entirely give up farming or 
even doing anything for a livelihood; because every Indian 
said to himself, and many said openly, "I have an annuity, to 
come every year for fifty years, so has my wife, so has each 
of my children; no need for me to do anything.'' If their 
worst enemy had tried to devise the best scheme for keeping 
them worthless blanket Indians always, he could have thought 
of nothing more effective than the annuity for lift v yean. 
The general feeling of the heathen Indians, and of manv Chris- 
tiana, when the provision was put in (ho treaty, was, "The 



government has now got our lands; we wish to be fed always, 
and just to dance." It is scarcely necessary to say that the 
Rice treaty of 1S89, besides containing the above very objec- 
tionable point, has been broken by the government in many 

The government also is admittedly in debt to the Indians 
for large sums, arrears of former treaties. This condition 
keeps them from settling down to work, for they naturally 
think and say, "The government owes me so many hundreds 
of thousands of dollars; let it pay me these arrears, and I 
shall be rich; no need for me to work." It would be better 
if the government should dump down before them whatever it 
owes them; and when that is spent,, then and not before, they 
will go to work. 


October is payment month; but very often payment is not 
made till January or later, entailing great loss on the Indians. 
They are afraid to go off hunting or even logging, lest pay- 
ment should be made in their absence; and so they lose much 
more than the amount of the payment by waiting for it As 
the time approaches, their anxiety for it is extreme; almost 
as far off as one can see them, the first question is, "When is 
payment going to be?" When it is made in January they 
must come about thirty miles to Leech Lake, from Cass lake 
and Winnibigoshish, over the frozen, wind-swept lakes; and 
they must camp about Leech Lake village in a temperature 
of perhaps thirty degrees below zero, with very little fire- 
wood, for near the village it has all been cut off; and they 
usually bring only the one blanket with them. We would 
not spend the long time, and endure the sufferings, for the 
amount, perhaps five dollars a head, which they get Had 
they let the payment go, and gone hunting or working in a 
logging camp, they would have earned many times that 
amount. At payment they are all dressed up; it is a great 
frolic. All the sleigh bells, feathers, paint, and blankets, ihat 
can be mustered, are then put on. There arc great dance! 
every evening for joy of the payment The young follows 
fcpend hours in painting their faces. Yet they are quiet tad 


orderly in their enjoyment. It seems to be a great pleasure 
to them merely to see each other and the crowds. There are 
more Indians assembled at that time than at any other. 

There are always many houses rented as gambling houses 
at payment time, and one can make a tour of them, and find 
them all literally packed full of participants or spectators. 
There are always many professional Indian gamblers, who go 
to every payment, walking perhaps a hundred miles to the 
place. One meets companies of these a few days before pay- 
ment begins. A large amount of the annuities paid is Imme- 
diately gambled away, and a large amount of it goes for 
whisky. The gambling is all open and above board, in sight 
of everybody; and nobody seems to think there is anything 
wrong in it, except the Christians. Spectators go from one 
gambling house to another, and the fortunes of those who 
win or lose are of deep interest to them. 

The traders all lay in large stocks of goods then, and hire 
many extra clerks. All day long the stores are packed full 
of people, and a great part of the night. Some are buying, 
some looking at the crowds; but all are enjoying themselves 
in a quiet way. The girls are dressed in their best; the young 
men have flutes of their own making, on which they play love- 
songs to them. Outside of the store, there is darting about 
here and there, and good-natured revelry. From a distance 
the drum sounds, showing that the dance is in progress, and 
the groups visit all in turn, the dance, the stores, the gam- 
bling places. It is the time of the great annual frolic of the 
Ojibway, and every one feels happy. 

The trader stands near the paying place, with his book in 
his hand showing the amount each man owes. As the man 
comes out with his payment, he looks wistfully at him, as any 
of us would; perhaps he asks the debtor for the money, per- 
haps not. The Indian will not be forced into paying; so some 
traders think it just as well to say nothing to them, to Leave 
it to themselves. If they pay, they get a further credit ; but if 
not, credit stops. There is no taking money from any one by 
force; nor is the creditor allowed in the paying place. 

When the payment waa made at Mille Lacs this year, it 
was in May; and the weather being lino, the Indians were all 



camped. They danced every evening before the payment, for 
joy that it was to be. As soon as the money began to be paid, 
blankets were spread upon the ground in scores of places, 
right close to the paying-booth, and almost the entire popu- 
lation seemed at once to be engaged in gambling. Some had 
cards, some used the bullet and moccasin game. Even those 
who seemed to be almost dying were flourishing the cards. 
It seemed more universal there than elsewhere, because there 
is no mission at Mille Lacs. Within the next two days, four 
(as I remember) died of drinking pain-killer or something of 
that sort, and two became totally blind from lemon extract 
that had wood alcohol in it; notwithstanding the labors of the 
missionary with each one individually, many days beforehand, 
warning and entreating them not to touch liquor in any 
form and not to gamble. But white men are just as liable to 
these evils, for some of them on the frontier die of lemon ex- 
tract, and some become blind. 

Old Indians often lament the degeneracy of the present 
days; for when they were young, they say, only middle-aged 
or old men were allowed to drink liquor, and it was done in 
an orderly way, as the drinkers would be ranged in rows, and 
some young men were there to keep order, and if any of the 
drinkers became obstreperous, one of the young attendants 
would silence him, saying, "Now, you keep still." But in 
these degenerate days, they say, everybody, even little chil- 
dren, are allowed to drink. 

At an Indian paymeilt also is the time when young men 
show off on horseback before the people, and jerk and pull, 
and cruelly abuse their horses, to make them rear and plunge, 
and so to gain a little cheap admiration. 


Wild rice gathering time, which comes in September, is an 
interesting occasion. There is a very large wild rice lake in 
the north part of the White Earth reservation; suppose that 
we visit it. We would find there six or seven hundred peo- 
ple, half-breeds and Indians, living in temporary wigwamfl Of 
tents, who have come to gather wild rice. They have brought 



their families with them. When the sun arises, hundreds of 
smokes go up from as many fires made outside their wigwams, 
where the women are cooking breakfast. Soon the breakfast 
is spread on the ground, and they reclining around it; and a 
delicious breakfast it is, nice light biscuit, ducks deliciously 
cooked, with wild rice and tea. Not many hotels could fur- 
nish such a meal, and none such a dining-room. After break- 
fast the women get into the canoes and launch out to beat off 
and gather the rice; but out of all the hundreds there, only a 
very few men, Christians, perhaps five or six, go with them. 
There has been a failure of crops; they have nothing at home, 
and only the wild rice they may gather now to depend on to 
carry them through the winter. The wild rice is such an 
abundant crop that a Norwegian man (the only white man 
working there, he being employed for wages), says that a man 
can make seven dollars a day, at the market price for rice, by 
gathering it. Here then is a God-send, and something that 
calls for a great effort. But the fascination of the game is 
so great that, with the exception of a very few, all the men 
spend the day lying on the ground gambling. So the golden 
opportunity is missed. In a month they will have nothing at 
home; while by exerting themselves for a very few days in 
the rice-field they might have had plenty all the year. One 
family brings away twenty-one large sacks of rice; all might 
have done so,- had the men cared to help. But some even com- 
plained that they were hungry, because, though the ducks 
' were flying about thick, and they might have shot all they 
wanted, they could not bear to tear themselves away from the 
game long enough to do so. Such is Indian life, and the 
mixed-bloods generally are just the same; but some of the 
mixed-bloods are just as nice as any white people in all re- 
spects, and in nothing inferior to them. 

Within the last three years large numbers of mixed-bloods 
on the White Earth reservation have rented their farms to 
Germans from the Sauk valley, while they have moved into 
White Earth village and built themselves little shanties, 
where they will live on the rents. This movement seems to 
be spreading, and all are anxious to rent who ran. 




The Indians and mixed-bloods who within the last seven 
years have removed to the White Earth reservation have been 
fed by the government with food of all kinds, pork, flour, tea, 
sugar, etc., some of them being so fed during a period of five 
years, and some during a less time. The Chippewa Commis- 
sioners, who had that matter in charge, paid the chief of 
those who had immigrated to exhort the others to raise a 
crop. They thought his influence and exhortation would be 
worth the money spent He took the salary, but, realizing 
that if the Indians raised an abundance the rations would be 
cut off, he exhorted them all, instead, and charged them, not 
to plant a single thing, concluding that if they raised nothing 
and had nothing they would continue to be fed, but otherwise 
not. So sometimes in the same village where the chief lived, 
prolonged councils were held, and the people of the neighbor- 
ing villages were called in a body; and the result they aimed 
at was to pass a law that no one should plant anything, for 
the above reason. In consequence, they planted very little. 
At first sight, this conduct seems very strange to us; but 
when we realize that these rations came out of their own 
funds, the proceeds of their pine forests, and also that several 
hundreds of thousands of dollars of arrears were due to them, 
we see that it was natural, from their standpoint, that they 
should wish to get out of their own funds all they could, and 
that whatever they succeeded in getting was to them so much 
clear gain. For the same reason they will work all kinds of 
games on the government doctor to get sick rations; or on 
those in charge of a school, to get clothing for the children. 
They know it comes out of their funds, and is their own, 
though trickery and deception have been used in getting it. 


The mortality among their children when in schools is ex- 
tremely low, only a small fraction of what it is among those 
outside. Good food, good clothing, regular hours, and the 
weekly bath, make the difference. 

Consumption is now very rife among the Indiana They 
Bay that in old times, when they lived practically in the open 


air always, and subsisted on flesh almost exclusively, con- 
sumption was almost unknown among them. Many reasons 
for its prevalence now might be given, but one undoubtedly 
is the spitting over everything by the sick, while closely 
packed in one small room. The sputa dry, rise as dust, are 
inhaled by the others, and in that way the sick give this dread 
disease to the well. Many middle-aged and old persons, who 
do not have consumption, cough for a great many years; ap- 
parently from the irritating effects on the air-passages of 
the lungs occasioned by drawing such quantities of smoke 
into them. Yet many such live to a good old age. The mor- 
tality in any Indian settlement is many times that in a white 
community of equal numbers. 

The pure-blood Indians are slowly decreasing in number; 
the mixed-bloods are rapidly increasing. Owing to the great 
preponderance of men on the frontier, many white men mar- 
ry Indian and mixed-blood women. As the latter also have 
each eighty acres of land, and if they remove to White Earth 
they and all the children will be rationed for years, while the 
man in addition will get oxen, cows, plows, wagons, sleds, a 
house, in right of his wife, etc., these things have their influ- 


As is well known, liquor has an attractiveness for the In- 
dians and does destructive work among them; but white men 
also' suffer in that way. Like all races of wild men, the In- 
dians first rapidly and greedily learn the vices of the superior 
race; and only later, slowly and with extreme difficulty, they 
acquire their virtues. Thus the excessive use of liquor, the 
excessive use of tobacco, all such things, they eagerly seize; 
and therefore necessarily, unless Christianity be taught to 
counteract such things, unless there be a Christian mission to 
protect them, the contact with the superior race, and with 
what is called civilization, is death to the Indian, death physi- 
cal and moral. 

One illustration only I may give. Before the town of 
Grand Rapids was founded, there lived near iis site an unusu- 
ally progressive band of Indians, called (he Rabbit band from 
a patriarch of that name. They numbered perhaps sixty to 


eighty. They had houses, stoves, good gardens and fields, and 
a great deal of stock, horses and cattle. They made much 
hay and sold it to the lumbermen, and, for heathen Indians, 
made great progress and were very comfortable. There came 
a white man from down the river and planted a saloon about 
two miles from them. He was the first settler in Grand Rap- 
ids, I think. In about two years half of that Rabbit band were 
dead, and the survivors were wretched shivering vagabonds, 
while the white man had all their former wealth. Some were" 
frozen to death when drunk; some were drowned by the up- 
setting of their canoes, when they were drunk; some lay down 
in the snow and took pneumonia; some were burned to death. 
The saloon-keeper had all their cattle, horses, stoves, and 
household goods; and those who remained alive had only an 
old blanket each. 

When the white men reached Leech lake, the town they 
reared on its banks had one drug store, one hardware store, 
two dry goods and provision stores, and seven saloons, one 
of which was capacious enough to contain whisky sufficient 
to poison all the 1,100 Indians of Leech lake. It was on a 
high bluff overlooking their lake, accessible from every part 
of it by their canoes. It was a deadly trap set for the simple 
natives, right in their midst, by their strong white brother. 
The civilization of the white man, without the Gospel, is 
death to the simple Indian. 


The children who have been brought up in the schools 
speak English; but those who have not been so taught, find 
our language excessively difficult and never learn it. Taking 
the people generally, Ojibway is almost exclusively their lan- 
guage; but. among the mixed-bloods French also is very ex- 
tensively used, 

The Ojibway language is a most beautiful, copious, and 
expressive one. It is most euphonious; there is not a harsh 
or guttural sound in it. All its sounds are perfectly familiar 
to us, but many of those in our language the Ojibway s cannot 
utter at all. Strange to say. their language is wy highly In- 
fleeted. The Ojibway verb, for Instance, is much more highly 
inllected than the Greek verb; it has whole conjugations of 


which we in our English language know nothing. Nearly all 
parts of speech are turned into verbs and conjugated. Any 
idea which is expressed in our language can be perfectly well 
expressed in theirs. Being so highly inflected, and with many 
particles variously dovetailed in, it is, though so beautiful, 
and really a work of art, a most difficult language to acquire. 
A learned ecclesiastic, who told me he spoke nine languages, 
including a little of this, told me he would rather learn the 
other eight than the single Ojibway. The greatest authority 
on Indian languages in our country some time ago made the 
statement that any verb in the Algonquin tongue is habitually 
used in a million different forms. The wonder is how such a 
rude people ever constructed or ever handed down such a 
highly inflected language. To one who studies it, it is as 
great a surprise, to use the words of another, "as it would be 
to come on a beautifully sculptured Corinthian temple out on 
one of our prairies." 

In this paper I have left out altogether everything about 
the mission to the Ojibways, the ten congregations, and the 
eleven Indian clergy; though the history of Christianity among 
these people would be the more interesting narrative of the 



By The Eight Reverend Henry B. Whipple, D. D., LL. D., 
Bishop of Minnesota. 

Gentlemen of the Historical Society: It is a great pleasure 
to tell you the story of our missions to the Ojibways, whom 
I have learned to love as the brown children of our Heavenly 
Father. The North American Indian is the noblest type of 
a wild man in the world. He recognizes a Great Spirit; has 
an unwavering faith in a future life, a passionate love for 
his children, and will lay down his life unflinchingly for his 
people. I have never known an Indian to tell me a lie, — a 
characteristic of the Indian character to which the officers 
of the United States Army will bear testimony. 

The O jib ways belong to the Algonquin division of the 
aboriginal American people, which included all the Indians 
from the Atlantic to the forests of Minnesota, north of the 
Cherokees, except the Six Nations of New York. Their lan- 
guage is both beautiful and interesting, and exhibits the nicest 
shades of meaning. The verbs have more inflections than in 
the Greek language. Perhaps the Epistles of St. Paul are 
the crux to test a language, but in that respect the richness 
of the Ojibway tongue cannot be exceeded. Polygamy has 
existed with them to a much less degree than among other 

At the time of my consecration, Bishop Kemper, honored 
by all men, said to me, ''Dear brother, do not forget the poor 
Indians who are committed to your care and whom you may 
gather into the fold of Christ." Three weeks after coining 
to Minnesota, in 18G0, I visited the Indian country. The 
Indiana had fallen to a depth of degradation unknown to 
uieir heathen fathers. Our [ndian affairs were at their worst 

•An address given before the Minnesota Rlitortctl Society, Ma y 2. 1808. 


The Indians were regarded by politicians as a key to unlock 
the public treasury, and even Christian folk said, in the lan- 
guage of Cain, "Am I my brothers keeper ?" Much as I had 
heard of their sorrow and wretchedness, I was appalled by 
the revelation of my first visit. As we entered the forest, 
we found a dead Indian by the wayside, who had been killed 
in a drunken fight. A few miles farther on we came to a 
wigwam where the mother was stripping the outer bark from 
a pine tree that she might give the pitch to her children to 
satisfy the gnawings of hunger. Almost at every step we 
were met by some sign of the existing degradation. 

At Gull lake, James Lloyd Breck, of blessed memory, had 
gathered a little band of Christian Indians. He had left them 
to establish another mission at Leech lake. The Indians 
while maddened with drink had driven him and his family 
from the country. They afterward told me that white men 
had assured them that their grand medicine was as good as 
any religion, and that if they did not want the missionary 
they might drive him away. I held services in the log church, 
and I remember how deeply my heart was touched by the 
devotion of a few Christian Indians as I heard for the first 
time the services of the Church in their musical language. 

That same night the deadly fire-water made a pande- 
monium, and I could only say, "How long, O Lord?" But I 
then settled the question that, whatever success or failure 
might attend my efforts, I would never turn my back upon 
the heathen at any door. Friends within and without my 
diocese advised me to have nothing to do with Indian mis- 
sions, saying that a young bishop could not afford to make 
a failure in his work. I carried it where I have learned to 
carry all troubles, and I promised my Saviour that, God help- 
ing me, I would never cease my efforts for this wronged race. 
The Rev. E. S. Peake was a missionary residing at Crow 
Wing, and the Rev. John Johnson Enmegahbowh, ordained 
a deacon by Bishop Kemper, was living at Gull lake. I spent 
the following summer visiting all the scattered bands of the 
Ojibways, and holding services. After one of them, a chief 
asked me if the Jesus of whom 1 ipoke was the same Jesni 
that my white brother talked to when he was angry or drunk. 
The head chief of Sandy lake said to me: "You have Bpokeo 



strong words against fire- water and impurity; but, my friend, 
you have made a mistake. These are Words you should carry 
to your white brothers who bring us the fire-water and cor- 
rupt our daughters. They are the sinners, not we." 

But there were gleams of light. An Indian woman, the 
queen of the Pokegamas, followed me thirty miles to attend 
a service. She said to me: "Your missionary baptized my 
daughter. The Great Spirit called her home. I have heard 
a whisper in my heart, 'You must be a Christian and follow 
your child to the Great Spirit's home.' " At another place' 
I buried the child of a woman who brought me a lock of hair, 
saying: "Kechemuckadaiconai, the Great Spirit has called 
my child. I have heard that when white mothers lose their 
babies they sometimes have their hair made into a cross to 
remind them of the baby who has gone, and of Jesus who 
called it. Will you have my baby's hair made into a cross?" 
The following year, this woman walked forty miles to give 
me a large mokuk of dried berries. She said nothing, but 
pointed to the little cross which I had made for her. They 
were simple things, but they told me that the hearts of an 
Indian mother and a white mother are alike. 

I will mention an incident of our Sioux mission. Some 
of my hearers will remember the noted Sioux orator, Red 
Owl. He never attended a church service. One day he came 
into the school-room. There hung on the wall the picture 
of the Ecce Homo, — that sweet, sad face of the Saviour. He 
asked, "Who is that? Why are His hands bound? Why 
are those thorns on His head, and blood on His brow?" 
Again and again he came to the school-room and sat before 
the picture, asking questions about the "Son of the Great 
Spirit," until he had learned the story. One day as I was 
driving over the prairie, I saw a wood cross over a newly 
made grave, and when I asked what it meant, Wabasha told 
me that Red Owl was dead; that he had suddenly been taken 
ill, and that when he was dying he called his young men 
around him and said, "The story of the Great Spirit is true. 
I have it in my heart. When 1 am dead put a cross, like that 
on the mission house, over my grave, that the Indiana may 
8ee what was in Red Owl's heart." 

For three years we labored faithfully, but the clouds were 
often black and there was much to perplex in the example 



of a Christian nation. On one occasion the Sioux had killed 
one of our Ojibwavs near Gull river. On ray next visit to 
the Sioux country I said to their head chief, "Wabasha, your 
people have murdered one of my Ojibwavs, and yesterday 
you had a scalp dance in front of our mission. The wife and 
children of the murdered man are asking for him. The Great 
•Spirit is angry." Wabasha drew his pipe from his mouth, 
and, slow T ly blowing a cloud of smoke into the air, said: 
"White men go to war with their own brothers, and kill more 
men than Wabasha can count all the days of his life. Great 
Spirit looks down and says, 'Good white man; he has my 
book; I love him, and will give him good place when he dies.' 
Indian has no Great Spirit book.- He wild man. Kill one 
man; has scalp dance. Great Spirit very angry. Wabasha 
don't believe it!" 

In 1862, I visited the Sioux Mission on the upper Minne- 
sota river. There were forerunning signs of the coming of 
that awful massacre. These Indians had sold to the United 
States government eight hundred thousand acres of their 
reservation, for which they had never received a penny, ex- 
cept a few worthless goods sent to the Upper Sioux. They 
had been told by the traders that all had been paid out for 
claims, and that a large part of their annuities had also been 
thus used. It was true. Of the money which came too late, 
twenty-five thousand dollars had been taken from other trust 
funds to pay these annuities. 

I visited the Ojibwavs, on my return, at Crow Wing, and 
while I was there a letter came to Hole-in-the-Day, in care 
of the Rev. Mr. Peake, marked "In haste." Hole-in-the-Day 
was at Leech lake. I sent for his head warrior, who opened 
the letter. It was from Little Crow, and said: "Your men 
killed one of our farmer Indians. I tried to keep my nu n 
back. They have gone for scalps. Look out!" On my v ay 
to Red lake, I found the Indians turbulent, and felt that an 
impending cloud hung over our border. When it broke the 
only light which fell upon the scenes of bloodshed WHS that 
which came from the loyalty of those Christian Indians who 
rescued so many women and children from death. Knmo- 
gahbowh, who had been made a prisoner, escaped ami tia\ 
elled thirty miles in the night to warn Fort Ripley of its 

danger. He sent Chief Bad Hoy to the Milie Lacs Indians 



to call them to the defense of the fort; and before Hole-in- 
the-Day could begin war, the northern border was protected. 
I can never forget the love and bravery of those Christian 
Indians who proved their fidelity at the risk of their lives. 

Both of our missions, to the Sioux and to the Ojibways, 
were destroyed, and during those dark days it seemed as if 
the ground was drifting from under my feet. We began 
work again, and in 1867 we secured a valuable reservation 
for the Ojibways at White Earth. My heart was full of hope, 
but when I visited the Ojibways, they said that this was the 
first march towards the setting sun; that all Indians who 
had left their own homes had perished, and that their shad- 
ows rested upon their graves. Nabonaskong, the most fear- 
less warrior I have ever known, said: "The Bishop has a 
straight tongue. He says we shall be saved if we go to 
White Earth. We know it is a beautiful country. My chil- 
dren are looking in a grave. You know me. I will kill any 
man who tries to hinder me from going to that new home.'* 
Other Indians followed his example, and a little company 
removed to W T hite Earth, with Enmegahbowh as their clergy- 

Some months afterward, Nabonaskong went to Enme- 
gahbowh and said: "That story about Jesus is true. I 
know it. The trail brought by the Christian white man is 
good. But I have been a warrior. My hands are covered 
with blood. Can I be a Christian?" Enmegahbowh made 
the crucial test by asking if he might cut his hair. The 
Indian wears his scalp-lock for his enemy; and when his 
hair is cut, it is a sign he will no longer go on the war path. 
I have had a man tremble under the shears as he would not 
if a pistol were put at his head. Nabonaskong's hair was 
cut, and he started for home. He met some wild Indians 
on the way, who shouted with laughter and said, "Yesterday 
you were our leader. To-day you are a squaw!" It stung 
the man to madness. He rushed to his wigwam, and, throw- 
ing himself on the ground, cried, for the first time in his 
life His Christian wife knelt, by his side and said. "\a- 
DOnaskong, no ni;m can call yen a coward. Can \<>u nut be 
as brave for Him who died for you as you were to kill the 
Sioux?" Springing to his feet, he cried, "I can and I will!" 


He was true to his vow; his influence over other Indians 
was great, and in his last illness he sent for his people and 
urged them to throw aside their wild life and become Chris- 

One of those whom he led to Christ was Shadayence, the 
head grand medicine man of the nation. In the early days 
I used to call this man my Alexander Coppersmith, for he 
was the most cunning opponent of Christianity. The only 
Christian Indian in a certain village died, and left messages 
for his friends to follow him to the Great Spirit's home. It 
made a deep impression upon his people, and a few days 
afterward the medicine men left the village, and were not 
heard from for weeks. When they returned their faces were 
blackened and they were in rags, the sign of mourning. The 
Indians gathered around them and asked what it meant. 
After much persuasion they told their story, saying that they 
had found the Indian who had just died, in great trouble. 
The Great Spirit had permitted them to see the other world, 
and they had found their friend wandering alone. He told 
them that when he died he went up to the white man's heaven, 
and the angel who guarded the gate asked him who he was. 
He said that he was a Christian O jib way. The angel shut 
the gate, saying, "This is a white man's heaven. There are 
Happy .Hunting Grounds for the Ojibways, in the west." 
He then went to the Happy Hunting Grounds; but when he 
asked for admission, the angel asked who he was, and upon 
hearing that he was a Christian Ojibway answered: "The 
Ojibways are medicine men. If you are a Christian you must 
go to the other heaven." He was shut out of both, and must 
wander alone forever. 

In the early days of my Indian missions, I took a load of 
Indian children to Faribault. At Little Falls, a number of 
frontier men, who loooked upon me as a tenderfoot, gathered 
about the wagon and said, "I wonder if the Kishop expects to 
make Christians out of them. It can't be done any more than 
you can tame a weasel." After the Sioux outbreak, the Ojib- 
ways were afraid to trust their children in Faribault, which 
they regarded as a part of the Sioux country, and they were 
taken away. One day I met a lumberman at Brainerd, who 
said to me, "Bishop, I don't take any stock in your Indian 


missions." I replied, "I do not think you take stock in any 
missions." He smiled and responded, "That's so; but I know 
an Indian in my camp who is a Christian sure! He is the 
only man who don't swear or drink whisky. His only fault 
is that he won't work Sundays." I visited the camp, and 
found the son of Shadayence. I educated him, and ordained 
him; and when his father saw him for the first time in a 
surplice, preaching the gospel of Christ, he was deeply moved 
and became himself a Christian. 

Another of these Indian boys was employed as a chain- 
man by a United States surveyor. A few days after he began 
his work, he asked permission to return to his home, saying, 
"Your young men swear. There are no oaths in the Indian 
language. I am afraid that I may learn to use these words." 
The surveyor called his employees together and told them 
the story, which so touched them that it ended profanity in 
the camp. This boy, Fred Smith, I also educated and or- 
dained, and he is now in charge of the beautiful church at 
White Earth, of which Enmegahbowh is the rector emeritus. 
Still another of those boys has been ordained, and has made 
full proof of his ministry. 

There are to-day ten Ojibway churches in the state of 
Minnesota, and seven Ojibway clergymen, besides several 
catechists and lay readers. I once asked a border man about 
one of my Indian clergymen, and he replied, "Bishop, he 
doesn't let the grass grow under his feet, and he doesn't wake 
np anybody's sleeping dogs." . 

I have often been asked if all Indians who w T ere baptized, 
remained true to their profession; and I have answered, "Did 
you ever know of a w T hite man, with fifteen hundred years 
of civilization back of him, to fail as a model of Christian 
character?" But I do say that there are no memories in my 
heart dearer than those of many of the brown children whom 
w ? e have been permitted to lead out of heathen darkness. 

I have not spoken of the Christian labors of other religions 
bodies. I have made it a rule of my life never to interfere 
with other Christian work. One of the noblest specimens 
of the Indian, Mahdwagononint (a brief sketch of whose life 
1 recently published)! came to me in L8C5, and asked me for 
a missionary. The CongregationalifltS had sent a missionary 


to Bed lake, but Malidwagononint said to me, "I want your 
kind. You have been my friend and have helped save my 
people." After repeated appeals, I wrote to the secretary 
of the American Missionary Association, and asked permis- 
sion to send an Indian clergyman to lied lake, saying that 
their mission had not been a success, and that, although in 
my diocese, I was unwilling to present a divided Christianity 
to heathen folk. I received a courteous letter from the sec- 
retary, in which he said, "I believe, for the interest, of the 
Indians, that it is best to leave this field in your care, and 
we will withdraw our missionary. 7 ' I consulted with Arch- 
deacon Gilfillan as to a name for the new mission, and, re- 
membering that the Book of Kevelation speaks of "my servant 
Antipas where Satan dwelleth," we decided that it should 
be called St Antipas. God has blessed us. Malidwagononint 
became one of the noblest Christians 1 have known, and his 
village is the only village in Minnesota where all are Chris- 

We owe a debt of gratitude to our deaconess, Miss Sybil 
Carter, who, with all the energy and devotion of her honored 
great-grandfather, Samuel Adams of Revolutionary fame, has 
made a grand success of the six lace schools which she has 
established among the Indians, four of which are in Minne- 
sota. This lace compares favorably with the best imported 
laces, and received high commendation at the World's Fair 
in Chicago. There have been many iustances where the In- 
dians would have suffered from hunger, by the loss of their 
crops, had it not been for this industry. The lace-making has 
a refining influence upon these people. An Indian woman 
said to me, "Me wash hands to keep thread clean; me wash 
apron to keep lace clean; clean dress to keep apron clean; 
clean floor to keep dress clean; lace make everything clean, 
me like it." 

The story of our labors for the Indians would not be com- 
plete if I did not speak of the conflicts which I have had, to 
secure justice for them, and to reform our Indian system. 
At the time when General Sibley appointed Christ inn Indians 
as his scouts, I asked him whal he would do with their wives 
and children. Tears came Into ins eyes ns he said, M J ^liall 
have to send them with the others, to the Missouri" 1 said 


that I should take them to Faribault, which I did. Alexander 
Faribault, with his usual generosity, allowed them to camp 
on his land, and I was enabled, by the gifts of friends, to aid 
in their support. At that time there was a sea captain living 
at Faribault. He one day overheard a party of bordermen 
say with an oath, "Bishop Whipple has taken a lot of those 
savages down to Faribault. Let's go down and clean him 
out." "Do you know Bishop Whipple?" said the captain. 
"I do, and I will tell you what will happen if you try to clean 
him out. He will come out and talk to you for five minutes, 
and you will wonder how you ever made such cussed fools of 
yourselves." The leading papers of the State, however much 
they differed from me, always published my appeals for the 
Indians; but there were papers that denounced me as the 
patron and friend of savages, and in one I saw an article, 
headed in large type, "Awful Sacrilege! Holiest Rites of the 
Church administered to red-handed Murderers!" I am glad 
to say that the author became one of my firm friends, after 
he had received his sight. 

In 1864, the legislature of Minnesota demanded that the 
Ojibways should be removed from their reservations. The 
Department selected a tract of land north of Leech lake, and 
sent out a special commissioner to make the treaty. He came 
to see me, and asked for my help in making the treaty. I 
told him that the Indians were not fools, and that, as the 
country which had been selected was the poorest in Minne- 
sota, only valuable for its pine land, I knew that not an Indian 
would sign the treaty. He answered, "If you will not help 
me, I will show that I can make it without help." He called 
the Indians together, and said, "My friends, your Great Father 
has heard how you have been wronged. He looked in the 
North, the East, and the West, to find an honest man; and 
when he saw me, he said, 'Here is an honest man; I will send 
him to my red children.' Now, my friends, look at me. The 
winds of fifty-five winters have blown over my head, ami have 
silvered it over with gray, and in all that time 1 have done 
no wrong to a single person. As your friend, 1 advise you 
to sign this treaty ai once." old Shabaskong, a Ilille Laca 

chief, sprang to his trot, and. with a wave of the hand. Bald: 
"Look at me. The winds of tifty-live winters have blown o\er 


my head and have silvered it over with gray, but — they have 
not blown my brains away! I have done." That council was 

In those dark days, I visited Washington three or four 
times each year, to plead for these Indians. There were times 
when they were in danger of starvation. At one time I re- 
ceived a message that there were not provisions enough at 
one of the reservations to last three weeks. I borrowed five 
hundred dollars from J. E. Thompson, and purchased flour 
for them. Mr. Thompson often loaned me money for my In- 
dian missions, for in those days their support rested upon 
myself. He always refused to take interest, saying, "I do not 
think, Bishop, that our Heavenly Father ought to pay interest 
for «money used in His work." 

The first light that I had was when General Grant was 
elected President. He loved the Indians, and political pres- 
sure never made him turn from what he believed to be for 
their interest. Officers of the United States Army have al- 
ways been my friends. General Sherman once said, "The In- 
dian problem can be solved by one sentence of an old book, 
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.' " 

One of the most exciting conflicts that I had with the 
Indians was at Leech lake. I was on a visitation in the 
southern part of the State, when I received a telegram from 
George Bonga, "The Indians at Leech lake have killed the 
Government cattle and taken the Government goods, and I 
fear an outbreak." I repeated the telegram to General Grant, 
adding that Bonga was reliable. The answer came, "Go into 
the Indian country and settle this, and we will ratify your 
act." It was a terrible journey, with the thermometer below 
zero, and the roads blocked by snowdrifts. Captain McCas- 
key, a noble soldier, accompanied me. When we reachd Leech 
lake, the Indians met me in council. Flat Mouth arose and 
said: "I suppose you came to ask who killed the Government 
cattle, and who took the Government goods. My young men 
did it by my authority. Do you want to know why? Our 
pine land has been sold without our consent. We have been 
robbed. We shall Buffer no more. Our shadows rest on our 
graves." He spoke for a half hour, with bitter saivasm ami 
denunciation of the United States government I knew my 



only hope of controlling the Indians lay in silencing Flat 
Mouth. As he sat down, I arose and said quietly, "Flat Mouth, 
how long have you known me?" "Twelve years," was the 
answer. "Have I ever told you a lie?" "No," came the reply, 
"you have not a forked tongue." "I shall not lie to you to- 
day," I continued. "I am not a servant of the Great Father; 
I am a servant of the Great Spirit. I cannot tell you what 
the Great Father will do ; but if he does what he ought to do, 
if it takes ten thousand men he will arrest every Indian who 
has committed crime." As I expected, he was very angry, 
and sprang to his feet with flashing eyes and bitter words. 
When he stopped to take breath, for I had folded my arms 
and sat down, I asked quietly, "Flat Mouth, are you talking 
or am I talking? If you are talking, I will wait till you 
finish. If I am talking, I prefer you to wait." All the In- 
dians shouted, "Ho! ho! ho!" Flat Mouth, by interrupting 
me, had broken their most sacred law of politeness, and the 
chief sat down overwhelmed with confusion, and I was left 
master of the situation. I told them that when I heard of 
the sale of the land, I informed the purchaser, who was my 
friend, that I should break up the sale. I wrote the Secretary 
of the Interior that I would carry it through all the courts if 
necessary. I consulted the Chief Justice of the United States. 
"But," I said, "when I ask good men to help me, and they 
ask if the Indians for whom I plead are the ones who stole 
the Government goods, killed the Government cattle, and 
threatened to murder white men, what shall I say? You are 
not fools. You know that you have gagged my tongue and 
fettered my hands. Talk this over among yourselves, and 
when you have made up your minds what to do send for me." 
I left the council, and the next morning Flat Mouth and his 
fellow chiefs came to me, and said, "We have been foolish. 
Tell us what to do, and we will follow your advice." 

I will here mention that the responsibility for this sale 
did not belong either to the agent, the Rev. Mr. Smith, or to 
the purchaser. I know better, perhaps, than any of lux fellow 
citizens, the history of that unfortunate transaction, and I 
know that these men were Innocent, it would weary you to 
tell, ever so brieily, of those fierce conflicts, 1 should have 
failed if God had not given me strength bejond my own wi ak 


The history of our dealings with the Indians is a sad one. 
We may begin far back to where our Pilgrim fathers marched 
around a church, with the head of King Philip on a pole, to 
the music of a fife and drum, and then in solemn conclave 
decided that it was the will of God that the sins of the fathers 
should be visited upon the children, and therefore sold Philips 
son as a slave to Bermuda. 

Follow on to the time when Worcester, that noble Pres- 
byterian missionary to the Cherokees, was tried, and sen- 
tenced to prison, for teaching the Cherokees to read. The 
case was carried to the Supreme Court of the United States, 
by Mr. Evarts, the father of William M. Evarts. Chief Justice 
Marshall decided that the law was unconstitutional. But 
the Supreme Court has no power to execute its mandates, 
and Worcester remained in prison. Little did the people 
of Georgia think that the day would come when a host of 
men, under the flag of that outraged Constitution, would 
descend from the top of Missionary Ridge, the home of that 
martyred servant of God, and lay waste all of that land which 
had been taken from the Cherokees. 

You may still follow on to where a Moravian church was 
burned on the Lord's day, and the men, women, and children 
of a Christian Indian village were put to death. And so on 
to that fearful Cheyenne massacre, under Colonel Chivington, 
of which a commission (General Sherman was the president, 
and our honored fellow citizen, General Sanborn, was a mem- 
ber) said that the scenes which took place would have dis- 
graced the most savage tribe of the interior of Africa. 

We have spent more money in Indian wars than all the 
Christian churches of America have expended for missions: 
and in these wars (of which oflicers of the army, such as Sher- 
man, Grant, Miles, and Crooks, have told me that they never 
knew an instance where the Indians were the first to violate 
a treaty), ten white men have been killed to one Indian. 

Much of the wrong heaped upon the Indians was the direct 
fruit of a bad system. The men entrusted with the elevation 
of a heathen race were appointed agents as a reward for 
political service. The hands of the Commissioner «>t' Indian 
Affairs were tied by Congress. The Secretary of the interior 
had the care of eight bureaus, and (he government felt that 
it had fulfilled its duty to its Indian wards when it estab- 


lished almsliouses to graduate savage paupers. The deadly 
fire-water, and the evil example of bad white men, completed 
the work of degradation. 

Many of our presidents, whom I have known personally, 
have felt keenly the wrongs of the Indians. At my first visit 
to President Lincoln, after the Sioux massacre, there were 
tears in his eyes as I told him of our desolated border, and 
he said with impassioned voice, "When this civil war is over, 
if I live, this Indan system of iniquity shall be reformed." 
Secretary Stanton said to a friend of mine: "What does 
Bishop Whipple want? If he came to tell us of the iniquity 
of our Indian system, tell him we know it. But this govern- 
ment never reforms an evil until the people demand it. When 
the Bishop has reached the hearts of the people of the United 
States, the Indians will be saved." Presidents Arthur and 
Hayes gave me their entire sympathy. 

In the first administration of President Cleveland, I called 
upon my friend, Chief Justice Waite, and said, "Will you tell 
me what you think of President Cleveland?" He answered, 
"I believe that he wants to know the truth; and when he 
knows it, no one can swerve him from his course." He took 
me to the President and introduced me. I told him that the 
•Government had built dams on our Indian reservation, which 
had overflowed ninety-one thousand acres of pine land, de- 
stroyed their rice fields, and injured their fisheries; and that 
they had plead in vain for redress. Mr. Cleveland responded, 
"It is a great wrong. I will send for the Secretary of the 
Interior." He said to him, "I have asked Bishop Whipple to 
address you a letter giving the facts concerning these dams. 
When Congress meets send the letter promptly to me." He 
sent a special message to Congress with my letter, and the 
appropriation was made. 

In correspondence with President McKinley, before his 
inauguration, I was deeply impressed by his Christian char- 
acter. Secretary Bliss feels keenly the government's respon- 
sibility for its Indian wards. There is much yet to be dene, 
but the difference at the end of t hirty-etght years is as between 
darkness and daylight. 

The following tacts speak volumes. Of the two hundred 
and fifty thousand Indians in tin 4 United States, beside* those 


in Alaska, eighty-eight thousand wear the civilized dress; 
twenty-five thousand live in houses; twenty-five thousand 
are communicants of Christian churches; twenty-two thou- 
sand are pupils in schools; thirty-eight thousand can read. 
The past year there were one hundred and seventy more 
births than deaths among the Ojibways in Minnesota. The 
records of the Interior Department show that in the past 
year fourteen Indians were killed by other Indians, and forty- 
four Indians were killed by whites. The Indians last year 
sold to the United States government, and to others, more 
than a million bushels of wheat and corn. 

Yes, thank God, the atmosphere is clearing. The senti- 
ment of justice is beginning to vibrate in the hearts of men 
everywhere. I owe a debt of gratitude to the Christian peo- 
ple of America and of Great Britain for their sympathy and 
help. The Quakers of Philadelphia sent me two thousand 
dollars, with which the first cattle for the White Earth res- 
ervation were purchased. My friend, the Duke of Argyll, in 
writing me some years ago concerning our Indian wars, said, 
"That the government has treated the poor Indians with great 
injustice I have little doubt, for it is the habit of the white 
man so to treat all his half-civilized brethren all over the 
world." But the time has come when the cry that "there is 
no good Indian save a dead Indian" rings hollow, and he 
who utters it is no longer on the popular side. It may not 
be out of place in this jubilee year of that gracious Queen 
whom all Christian nations revere and honor for her noble 
Christian reign, to say that in that heart I have found a sym- 
pathy for my work for my. brown children that could not be 
exceeded by the loving loyalty of my own countrymen. 

For myself I have received an hundredfold for all my 
labors; and when I have finished my work, I would rather 
have one of these men, of the trembling eye and wandering 
foot, drop a tear over my grave and say, "He helped us when 
he could," than to have the finest monument. 



Mr. President and fellow members of the Old Settlers' As- 
sociation: It gives me pleasure to greet you once more, on 
the annual recurrence of the day when Minnesota became 
known to the world as an organized government, under the 
laws of the Federal Union. 

The chairman of your Executive Committee, from the day 
that he assumed to exercise executive authority over the new 
Territory of Minnesota forty-eight years ago, has at all times 
been active in keeping alive the memories of the days of our 
beginning, and the developments of the new territory and fu- 
ture state. He has requested me to present on this anniver- 
sary of our association a review of the events which preceded 
the organization of the territory, and of the men who were 
active in perfecting it. 

While there has been much written and published concern- 
ing the early days of our history as a state and territory, and 
the men who were active and participated in its organization, 
a further record thereof might seem unnecessary and cumula- 
tive; yet it will never be considered, I think, out of place for 
the "Old Settlers" of Minnesota, on the occasion of their annual 
gathering, to have their memories revived and refreshed of 
those who were once our associates and companions in the ad- 
ventures of our early history and the struggles of a pioneer 
life, some of whom still remain with us, while the greater num- 
ber are enrolled among the departed. 

What then can bo more appropriate,' on this occasion of 
our annual meeting, than to mingle in memory with those who 

•A paper read beforo the Old Settlers' Association of Minnesota, at Its 
annual meeting, June 1. 189T; also nt t ho monthly mortlm: of tho Ex- 
ecutive Council of the Minnesota Historical Society. December L8, 1801, 


were the charter members of our organization? and also with 
the members of the Territorial Legislature, who first exercised 
authority to enact laws to govern Minnesota? It is especially 
suitable thus to celebrate this semi-centennial, of 1847, as our 
existence had its foundation in the events of that year. 

I therefore assume this A. D. 1897 as the fiftieth anniver- 
sary of the "Old Settlers;" for several among our number were 
prominent and active in 1847 in the incipient movements of 
laying the foundations of the future Minnesota. The events of 
that year are so intimately associated with the culminating 
period of 1849, the year of our Territorial birth, and with the 
men who became the charter members of the Old Settlers' As- 
sociation, that the purposes of this paper would be incomplete, 
did it not refer to those who were prominent in 1847. Think 
of the contrast between then and now! The developments 
and changes of fifty years ! 

In 1847, the location of St. Paul was unsold government 
land, a rough broken country, comprising tamarack swamp, 
sand hills, rocky ravines, and quagmires and sloughs that were 
the abode of muskrats and other aquatic animals. A portion 
of about ninety acres. was that part of the present city area 
lying between Seventh street and the Mississippi river and 
extending from the "Seven Corners" to Sibley street. This 
tract was occupied by squatters who had a law unto them- 
selves, which recognized the rights and claims of the settlers 
to be as sacred and effective as under a patent from the United 
States government. 


Of the persons prominent in those days I will first mention 
Henry Jackson. He was born in Abington, Virginia, Febru- 
ary 1st, 1811. He arrived in St. Paul on the night of June 
9th, 1842, with his wife, and found shelter in a cabin occupied 
by one Abraham Perry. Within a few days he rented a small 
cabin of Pierre Parrant, who had been the founder and pro- 
prietor of that more ancient settlement known as "Pig's Kye," 
of which Saint Paul was the western suburb. Jackson's rented 
cabin was on the levee near tie 4 feet of the present Jack son 
street, where he remained till he built a log cabin tor himself 


on the point of the bluff in the rear of the present St. Paul 
Fire and Marine Insurance building. In the new cabin he 
opened a stock of goods suitable for the Indian trade and also 
"kept tavern." 

Henry Jackson was a remarkable man, shrewd, active, jolly, 
and ever equal to any emergency. He was, in his day, legis- 
lator, postmaster, justice of the peace, merchant, and hotel 
keeper. On April 7th, 1846, the postoffice of St. Paul was estab- 
lished, and on the same day Mr. Jackson was appointed post- 

Only three postoffices had been previously established 
within the limits of the present state of Minnesota. The office 
at Fort Snelling was established January 22nd, 1834, and the 
first postmaster was Samuel C. Stambaugh. The business done 
at this office was limited chiefly to the military post and the 
Indian agency. The second postoffice, established July Sth, 

1840, was known as Lake St. Croix, and was discontinued De- 
cember 11th of the same year, the receipts having amounted 
to only $23.53. It was, however, reestablished December 23rd, 

1841, and is now known as Point Douglas, in Washington 
county. The third office was established January 14th, 1846, 
at Stillwater, and Elam Greeley was appointed the postmaster. 
Its first year's receipts amounted to $101.93. For the year 
1896 its receipts were $14,054.70. 

The next or fourth postoffice was established at St. Paul, 
April 7th, 1846, as before stated. The receipts for the year 
1846 amounted to $14.70; and the receipts from the same office 
for the year 1896 amounted, to $433,706.90. These figures illus- 
trate the growth of this city in the past fifty years. 

I first became acquainted with Henry Jackson in 1S47, when 
he was a member of the Legislature of Wisconsin Territory. 
The district represented by him was composed of the counties 
of Crawford, Chippewa, St. Croix, and La Tointe, which to- 
gether embraced the entire country northwest of the Wiscon- 
sin river, extending to lake Superior and the British posses- 
sions. In both the territorial legislature and the convention 
to form the constitution of the state of Wisconsin. Mr. Jack- 
son took an active part for securing the St. Croix lake and 
river as the western boundary of the proposed state of Wis 
consin. Thereby he foresaw that a new Territory would be 



assured. From him I had my first information of the proba- 
bility of the new proposed Territory of Minnesota. Upon its 
organization he was one of the representatives from St. Paul 
in the first session of the Territorial legislature. 

Mr. Jackson removed with his family from St. Paul to Man- 
kato in April, 1853, being among the first settlers of that pros- 
perous city, where he died July 31st, 1857. 

Did the purposes of this article admit, I might make it con- 
gist entirely of a relation of incidents in the life of this pioneer 
merchant and magistrate. I will, however, only mention one 
more, as evidence of his tact and ingenuity in solving a di- 
lemma. Sometime during the winter of 1843-44, Governor 
Dodge of Wisconsin Territory appointed Mr. Jackson justice of 
the peace. On account of the infrequency of the transmission 
of the mail during the winter season, a long time elapsed, after 
his bonds were sent to the Governor, before his commission 
was received. In the meantime a young man and woman ap- 
plied to Mr. Jackson to be married. Jackson knew he had been 
appointed justice of the peace; but he had not received his 
commission, and requested them to wait a few days. This 
they were unwilling to do, as they were anxious to be married 
without any delay. Mr. Jackson at once solved the difficulty 
by proposing to them to give a bond, that they would come 
and be legally married after he had received his commission; 
they at once consented to this arrangement, and the bond was 
executed and delivered, whereupon Jackson told the youthful 
couple to go their way and be happy, and when he received 
his commission they could come again and be legally married. 


It was in August, 1847, that Jacob W. Bass came to St. 
Paul. He was born in Baintree, Vermont, in 1S15. Soon after 
his arrival in St. Paul, he leased the building on the corner 
of Third and Jackson streets, the history of which from that 
date to the present time is a part of the history of St. Paul, 
namely, the Merchants' Hotel. 

In August, 184G, one Leonard EL Laroche bad built a cabin 
of tamarack Logs on a trad of ground he bad bought of Benry 
Holland for $165, the description of which, In ins deed, would 
in these days be questioned by a "title lawyer," but at that 
time the deed was sufficient to determine and secure the rights 


of the parties interested. The tract of land was described as 
"bounded on the front and back by Henry Jackson's land, and 
on the sides by McLeod and Desmarais." This location is 
known to be a part of the land on which the Merchants' Hotel 
now stands. In the early part of the year 1847, Simeon P. 
Folsom bought this property from Laroche, and made some 
improvements on the building and kept it as a tavern till about 
the 10th day of Xovember in the same year, when he leased 
the same to Mr. Bass for a hotel at a rental of §10 per month. 
Additional improvements were made, so that it became in 
1848 a good two-story log building, to which was given the 
name "St. Paul House." It was thereafter conducted by Mr. 
Bass as a hotel till the spring of 1852, when he retired from 
it, having for two years kept the* postoffice in it. He was ap- 
pointed postmaster of St. Paul, July 5th, 1849, and held the 
office till March 18th, 1853, when he was succeeded by William 
H. Forbes. 

From he time when he left the Merchants' Hotel, in the 
spring of 1852, till his death, Mr. Bass was engaged in active 
business in St. Paul, and became prominent in every movement 
and enterprise that pertained to the growth and improvement 
of the city. He died in the month of May, 1889, and his re- 
mains were laid in final rest in Oakland cemetery. Mrs. Bass, 
his estimable wife, still survives, a joy and blessing to their 
children, and, as she always has done, gladdens the eyes and 
hearts of her numerous friends with her presence. 


was born in Montreal, Canada,' November 13th, 1S15. He 
came To Mendota in the summer of 1S37, and for ten years was 
clerk for Gen. H. H. Sibley, who at that time had charge of the 
business of the American Fur Company at that place. 

In 1847 Mr. Forbes came to St. Paul, and took charge of the 
business of that company here under the name of "The St. Paul 
Outfit;" and from that time he continued his residence here 
till his death. He was one of the proprietors of the original 
surveyed plat, now known as "St. Paul proper." Upon the 
organization of the Territory, he was elected to the legislature 
from st. Paul as a member of the Territorial Council; and ho 


was subsequently reelected, being a member of four successive 
councils. In 1S52, during the third session, he was elected by 
his associates president of the council. 

On March 18th, 1853, Mr. Forbes was appointed postmaster 
of St. Paul as successor of J. W. Bass. During the same year 
he tjecame associated with N. W. Kittson and engaged in the 
Indian and fur trade of the Northwest, and for several years 
did a very large business, which was terminated in 1862 by the 
Indian outbreak of that year. 

He held prominent positions in the military service of the 
United States during the campaign against the Sioux Indians 
and the war of the Rebellion. He was the provost marshal 
at the military trial of the three hundred Sioux Indians who 
were condemned to death. He was also a commissary of sub- 
sistence in the volunteer service, appointed by President Lin- 
coln with rank of captain; in 1864 he was chief commissary 
in the District of Northern Missouri; and subsequently he was 
engaged as chief quartermaster in General Fremont's depart- 
ment. For his valuable services, he was brevetted a major in 
the volunteer service. 

Mr. Forbes at one time was the auditor of Ramsey county, 
and held other civil offices to which he was well fitted; and 
performed his duties in whatever position he was placed with 
ability and fidelity, without ever a word of criticism or sus- 
picion to his discredit. 

He died July 20th, 1875, deeply lamented by numerous 
friends, and his body was entombed in the Catholic cemetery 
of St. Paul in the presence of many prominent citizens. 


was a native of Pennsylvania, and came to St. Paul in 1S46. 
He was known by the "Old Settlers" of that day as "McBoal," 
doubtless from his true name being James McClollan Boal. A 
prominent street in St. Paul is named from him, McBoal street. 
He was a conspicuous character in the early days of the terri- 
tory, a good hearted and genial fellow, a friend to all ho know, 
generous, being sometimes even liberal to a fault. Ha was 
elected in 18K) from St. Paul us a member of the Territorial 
Council for two years. Ho was appointed by Governor Ram- 



sey as Adjutant General of the Territory, and held that posi- 
tion till his successor was appointed in 1853 by Governor Gor- 
man. He died in 1862, after a long and severe illness, at Men- 
dota, where his remains were buried. 



was a native of the state of New York and came to St. Paul 
July 15th, 1847. He was a graduate of the Albany Medical 
College, and upon his arrival in St. Paul immediately entered 
upoL. his profession, being the first regular practicing physi- 
cian that located here. Previous to that time the settlers had 
depended upon the surgeons at Fort Snelling for medical or 
surgical aid. 

Dr. Dewey was elected from St.' Paul a member of the House 
of Representatives of the first Territorial Legislature. In 184S 
he became associated with Charles Cavalier (now a resident of 
Pembina, North Dakota) in business, and they established the 
first drug store in St. Paul. He died April 1st, 1891, and his 
remains were buried in Oakland cemetery. 

It is not my purpose to limit this article only to the lives of 
those who were in St. Paul in 1847, but to include some of the 
more prominent persons of those days who were members of 
the first Territorial Legislature, which commenced its session 
September 3rd, 1849, and who were residents of other parts of 
the Territory in 1847, whose names and lives have become a 
part of our state history. 

The legislature was composed of the Council, having nine 
members, and the House of Representatives, having eighteen 
members. All the members of the first Council are dead; and 
only four are now living who were members of the House of 


was born October 17th, 1S25, in Boone county, Missouri. In 
September, 1847, he went to St. Anthony Falls (now the east 
part of Minneapolis), staked out a claim, and cut the Logs for a 
cabin. From the want of a team to haul the toga lM WM 
obliged to defer the building of his cabin till the m m year, 
In the spring of 1849 he became permanently located there, 

and was elected from that distric t as a member of the House 


in the first Territorial Legislature. He died at the age of 
seventy years January 8th, 1S96, at Pasadena, California; and 
his remains now repose in the beautiful grounds of Oakland 
cemetery. The record of his life in Minnesota is a part of our 
Territorial and State history. Whatever may have been his 
position, as governor of the state, as a member of the legisla- 
ture, or as a general in the army of the Union, he gave honor to 
Minnesota, and won the lasting gratitude of her people. 


was born in Vermont, May 5th, 1822. He was a trader with 
the Winnebago Indians in 1844 near Fort Atkinson, Iowa, and 
in 1848 accompanied them on their removal to Long Prairie in 
this state; and at the same time he opened a trading house in 
St. Paul. He was elected a member of the Territorial Council 
in 1849, from the district which included Long Prairie, and 
was chosen its president. He was also a member of the Coun- 
cil at the second session of the Legislature in 1851. 

In 1853 Mr. Olmsted made St. Paul his permanent residence, 
and in the spring of 1854 was elected the first mayor, under 
the charter that incorporated the City of St. Paul. In 1855 he 
received the Democratic nomination for delegate in Congress, 
but was defeated by Hon. H. M. Rice. For several years his 
health became impaired; and February 2nd, 1861, he died at 
tLj home of his parents in Franklin county, Vermont. He was 
popular and much esteemed in public life during his residence 
in Minnesota; and the county of Olmsted, among the most 
flourishing in our state, will ever be a monument to his mem- 


was born in Skanea teles, Onondaga county, New York, Janu- 
nary 22nd, 1819. He was admitted to the practice of law in 
Syracuse, N. Y.; and came to Stillwater, May 17th, 1S47. He 
was not only the first practicing attorney in Minnesota, but 
was the first practicing attorney in the entire country north- 
west of Prairie du Chien. His life in Minnesota has become a 
part of its history. He was prominent in the councils of our 
country in both houses of oar national Congress, and in the 
legislatures of Minnesota. In 1 8 ID, he \\ :is a member of the 
first Territorial Legislature. In 1858, he w as one of the com* 



missioners to compile the statutes of the state of Minnesota. 
In 1859, he was elected United States senator; in 1868, was 
elected representative in Congress; and in the years 1874 to 
1877, was state senator from Blue Earth county. He died at 
Wells, in this state, February 4th, 1894. Mr. Wilkinson as a 
lawyer was an earnest and forcible advocate. During the war 
of the Rebellion he was in the United States Senate, and won 
a national reputation in his eloquent appeals to the people to 
maintain the unity and integrity of the government. 


was born in Madison county, New York, February 2nd, 1809. 
He came to Fort Snelling in 1837, and for more than ten years 
was engaged in various capacities as clerk and manager of 
business enterprises; and in 1848 he located at Crow Wing, to 
take charge of the trading establishment of Borup and Oakes. 
It was in November of this year that I first made his acquaint- 
ance, on the occasion of the annual payment to the Chippewa 
Indians at Crow Wing. He was elected a member of the House 
of the first Territorial Legislature. In the fall of 1849 he lo- 
cated at Sauk Rapids, and started the first farm in that part of 
the state northwest of Rum river. In whatever position he 
occupied, he was a courteous and genial man, and by his integ- 
rity and Christian character he won the respect and love of 
those who were fortunate to know him. He died June 13th, 


was born in Otsego county, New York, November 16th, 1811. 
He spent his boyhood and youthful days in his native county, 
and received there an academic education and devoted several 
years to teaching. He came to Stillwater in 1S48, and was 
elected from the Stillwater district in 1849 to the House of the 
first Territorial Legislature. All "Old Settlers'' will remember 
him as a regular attendant of our annual meetings, and a 
worthy representative from the St. Croix valley. He died at 
Stillwater in April, 1897. 


was born in Farmington, New Hampshire, in 1813, His an- 
cestors were among those sterling ami rugged Bettlers of the 
Granite State in the last century. His father IVES a soldier 


of the war of 1812. In 1840 he came to the St. Croix valley 
and located at St. Croix Falls. In 1844 he removed to Cottage 
Grove, and opened a farm, where he made his future residence 
till his death. In 1846 he was elected a member of the Wiscon- 
sin territorial legislature. The district he represented was 
the entire country north and west of a line from a point on 
lake Pepin to lake Superior. As an evidence of his energy, I 
refer to the fact that for his attendance in the Legislature at 
Madison in the session of 1847 he traveled on foot from his 
home in Cottage Grove as far as Prairie du Chien. 

He was a member of the first Territorial Legislature of Min- 
nesota and was elected speaker of the House at its session in 
September, 1849. He was appointed marshal of the Territory 
by President Fillmore in 1851. It was at this time that I came 
to know him intimately, because our positions as officers of the 
the federal government brought us together very frequently. 
I knew him as a faithful officer, of strong intellect, persistence 
in his convictions, and a pure character. He died at his family 
residence in Cottage Grove on the 10th day of July, 1884. 


was born in Kennebec county, Maine, in 1S10. He came to 
the St. Croix valley in 1839, and located at St. Croix Falls; and 
subsequently, like Mr. Furber, started a farm at Cottage Grove. 
He represented that district in the first Legislature in 1849, 
and afterward represented Washington county in 1855 and 
1856. He was elected speaker of the House at the session of 
1855, and was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 

He was a man of a strong will and purpose in his convic- 
tions and action. He was an active partisan of the Demo- 
cratic party in our Territorial days, a real "wheel horse" of the 
Democratic chariot. He died at his home in Cottage Grove, 
March 5th, 1874. 


was born in Sheldon, Vermont. He came into the Territory 
June 25th, 1848, from Maquoketa, Town, and located at Sauk 
Rapids as attorney at law, and was elected from that district 
to the first Legislature. Upon the Organisation of the Terri- 
tory, he was appointed Attorney General by Governor Ramsey, 


which office he held till his successor was appointed May 15th, 
1853, by Governor Gorman. He was secretary of the Consti- 
tutional Convention in 1857. 


was born in Washington, Connecticut. He came as a mission- 
ary among the Indians in 1S34, and located at lake Calhoun in 
Hennepin county. He represented the district west of the Mis- 
sissippi river in the first Territorial Legislature. His life in 
Minnesota is a part of its history and of the Christian Church 
with which he was associated. His labors for the welfare of 
the Indians for whom he was devoting his life were self-sacri- 
ficing. He had a strong intellectual mind, a kind and tender 

In speaking of his death, The Pioneer of January 21st, 
1876, said: "If ever there was a true man and a faithful and 
earnest Christian on the face of the earth, that man was Gid- 
eon H. Pond." 

It gives me pleasure, on this occasion of the meeting of the 
"Old Settlers" to bear this tribute to his memory; and I doubt 
not that our associate, Governor Ramsey, who knew him well, 
will heartily unite with me in this expression of commenda- 
dation and remembrance. 


was born in Willington, Connecticut, April 17th, 1817. He 
came to the St. Croix valley in 1843, and for many years re- 
Bided at Marine Mills in ^Yashington county. He was the 
member of the Council from that district in the first Territorial 
Legislature in 1S49, and also of the second session in 1851. 

Mr. Loomis had a genial and generous nature. No one 
knew him but to respect him. No worthy appeal made to him 
for aid was turned away empty-handed. He enlisted as a 
soldier in the war of the Rebellion, and was commissioned 
lieutenant of Company F of the Second Regiment of Minne- 
sota Volunteers in July, 1861; and in March, 1803, he was 
commissioned captain of the same company. 

He died February 24th, 1SD7, at the Soldiers' Home near 
Fort Snelling, having passed the last few years of his Life an 
invalid and a worthy subject of that institution. His remains 
have their final resting place, where many of his old friends 



and associates have been laid before him, in the beautiful Fair- 
view cemetery at Stillwater. 

Time will not permit me to extend this notice to speak 
particularly of other members of the First Legislature who are 
numbered among the departed, of whom indeed I could speak 
in words of commendation, and with whom I was acquainted. 
I will name them : 

Samuel Burkleo, of Stillwater and Marine Mills; 

John Rollins, of St. Anthony Falls; 

William R. Sturges, of Sauk Rapids and Little Falls; and 

Martin McLeod, of Traverse des Sioux; 
who were members of the Council. 

James Wells, of Lake Pepin and vicinity; 

William Dugas, of Little Canada, Ramsey county; 

Allan Morrison, of Crow Wing; 

Thomas A. Holmes, of Long Prairie; and 

Alexis Bailey, of Mendota and Wabasha; 
who were members of the House of Representatives. 

I cannot omit to mention the living. There are only four 
"Old Settlers" living who were members of the First Legisla- 
ture. Two of them were residents of St. Paul in 1847. 


still lives, an honor to his name as one of the original legisla- 
tors that gave political life to our state and city. At an earlier 
day, on Sunday, July 25th, 1847, he made his name memorable 
and became historical by being an assistant in organizing the 
first Sunday School in St. Paul. On that occasion he was as- 
sociated with our esteemed "Old Settler," 


who also is still a living witness of the sterling qualities that 
possessed the souls of our worthy pioneers. These two gallant 
young men, with kindly feelings and worthy motives, tendered 
their services to Miss Harriet E. Bishop (who a few days pre- 
vious had arrived in St. Paul) to'assist her in Btarting a Sim- 
day School, to give religious Instruction to the children of this 
embryonic city. On this occasion, there were Beven children 
gathered in a small log cabin that Miss Bishop had secured. 


There was a mixture. of races among these seven children; some 
of them could only understand English, while others could 
only talk or understand French, and still others were limited 
to the Sioux language. As Miss Bishop needed no assistance 
in giving instruction in English, it fell to the lot of our two 
friends to act as interpreters and to give instruction and read 
the catechism to the French and Sioux children. 

The name of Benjamin W. Brunson is historic of what St. 
Paul was in 1847. The records of our county and city bear 
witness that he at that time lived in the wilderness, but with- 
out a change of residence now lives in a city of over 150,000 

The other two living members are 


who was elected from the district composed of Marine Mills 
and other precincts on the St. Croix river; and 


from the Stillwater district. Both came to the St. Croix val- 
ley in 1842. I have no intention of writing an ante-obituary 
of their lives, and I will leave it for each of them to tell their 
own experiences as lawmakers of this commonwealth, and as 
defenders of the flag of our country. They still survive as 
specimens of the men who laid the foundations of our pros- 
perous State. May their future days be extended through 
many years, joyful and happy with their friends, as the past 
fifty years have been to each of them. 

An incident in the life of Mr. Setzer is worthy of special 
notice, for which the citizens of St. Paul will always hold him 
in remembrance, with feelings of gratitude on account of his 
unswerving integrity and stability of character as the friend 
of this city. I refer to the closing scenes of the eighth and 
last Tentorial Legislature, in which Mr. Setzer was a member 
of the Council. 

A bill for the removal of the capital from St. Paul to St. 
Peter had passed both houses of the Legislature, and nv;is 
returned to the Council, where it had originated, for enrollment 
and .signature of the president on the 27th day of February, 
1857, the original bill ami the enrolled copy were placed in the 
hands of Joseph Rolette, councilor from Pembina county ami 


chairman of the Enrollment Committee, to compare them. On 
the following day, February 28th, Mr. Rolette was not in his 
seat. The bill, being in his possession, could not be reported. 
Pending a resolution ordering another member of the enrolling 
committee to procure another enrolled copy and report the 
same, upon which motion the previous question was ordered, 
Mr. Setzer moved a call of the Council, which was ordered, and 
the sergeant at arms was requested to report Mr. Rolette in his 
seat. On account of the indisposition of John B. Brisbin, the 
president of the Council, Mr. Setzer was called to the chair, 
which he occupied for more than a hundred and twenty con- 
secutive hours. The Council under the existing apportionment 
comprised fourteen members, Mr. Rolette being the only ab- 
sent member. Mr. Setzer presided with great self-possession 
and calm dignity. He refused, while the Council was under a 
call, to accept a substitute for the original bill. It required 
two-thirds of the members to suspend the call; there were 
nine votes in favor of suspending the call, and four votes in 
opposition. Upon this voting, President Brisbin decided the 
call not suspended; and Acting President Setzer would not 
allow the Council to transact any business pending the call. 
While in this condition the limit of the time for the session of 
the Legislature expired. At the hour of twelve o'clock mid- 
night, March oth, 1857, the call still pending, after a continu- 
ous session of five days and nights, Mr. Brisbin, the president, 
resumed the chair and declared the Council adjourned sine die. 

It was the decisions and rulings of Mr. Setzer, while presid- 
ing on this occasion, which prevented the removal of the capi- 
tal of Minnesota from St. Paul to St. Peter. Our fellow asso- 
ciate, Mr. John D. Ludden, was a member of the Territorial 
Council at this session, and I doubt not that he will confirm 
what I have here said of Mr. Setzer. 

The members of the First Territorial Legislature were truly 
representative men. Among the number were farmers, law- 
yers, merchants, physicians, clergymen, manufacturers, engi- 
neers, and men holding confidential and fiduciary positions 
with commercial and manufacturing companies. Bach woro 
the men who on Monday, the 3rd day of September, L849, ohm 
together as the first session of I he Minnesota Legislature at (he 
capitol, then known as the "Central Bouse," a hotel located on 



the northeast corner of Minnesota and Second streets in this 
city, being a two-story log building covered with rough siding. 
The business of the hotel, being small, did not interfere with 
legislative proceedings. The Secretary of the Territory had 
established his office in the front room on the right hand of 
the hall at the main entrance of the building; and he permit- 
ted the representatives to occupy it as their "House" for the 
session. The members of the Council went upstairs into a 
small room known as the "library," which was the "Council 

Of this Legislature and its location, a writer in the Pioneer 
of that date wrote: "Both houses met in the dining hall, where 
Rev. E. D. Neill prays for us all, and Gov. Ramsey delivers a 
message full of hope and farsighted prophecy to comfort us, 
and then leaves the poor devils sitting on rough board benches 
and chairs after dinner to work out, as best they can, the old 
problem of self-government through the appalling labyrinths 
of parliamentary rules and tactics that vex their souls." Yet 
no legislature which ever set in Minnesota was made of better 
stuff than that which assembled to lay the corner stone of this 
political edifice. 

I should be guilty of injustice to our pioneer history, if I 
did not mention an important element in our development and 
progress, namely, the educational factor in St. Paul, which had 
its beginnings in 1847. It was July 16th, 1847, when 


landed at Kaposia, Little Crow's village, with the helping hand 
of our esteemed and gallant associate, Captain Russell Blake- 
ley, who was her escort and assisted her to walk the stage 
plank from the deck of the steamer Argo, safely placing her 
upon the soil of the future Minnesota. She was met with the 
cordial greeting of the Rev. Dr. Williamson, located at that 
point as a missionary among the Sioux Indians. Dr. William- 
son, foreseeing the importance and necessity of educational 
and religious instruction of the people in St. Paul, had solicited 
Governor Slade, of Vermont, to secure the services of a proper 
person as teacher; and through the Influence of Mrs. Harriot 
Beecher Stowe and her sister. Miss Catherine Beecher, the 
selection of Miss Bishop was made, to be located at St. Paul as 
a teacher of youth. 



She was aD ardent member of the Baptist Church, and pos- 
sessed a genuine and pure missionary spirit. She published 
a book in 1857, called "Floral Home, or First Years of Minne- 
sota," in which she relates the events of her pioneer experi- 
ence. It was a severe mental struggle and a sacrifice for her, 
a young and inexperienced lady, to leave the home of her child- 
hood, loving friends and the comforts of civilization, for the 
rude habitation of a distant unsettled part of the country, al- 
most surrounded by Indian tribes. She yielded to her sense 
of the call of duty and the opportunity of doing good. 

After a short stay with the family of Dr. Williamson, in 
the absence of other mode of conveyance, she was taken into a 
canoe, of the kind known as a "dug-out," paddled by two stout 
young Sioux squaws, and landed in St. Paul on July ISth, 1847, 
her future home. She says, in her "Floral Home," of the oc- 
casion of her landing in St. Paul: "A cheerless prospect 
greeted this view. A few log huts composed the 'town' — three 
families the American population. With one of these, distant 
from the rest, a home was offered me. [It was the dwelling of 
J. K. Irvine and family.] Theirs was the dwelling — the only 
one of respectable size — containing three rooms and an attic." 

Miss Bishop immediately arranged for a school room. It 
was a vacant log cabin, on the northeasterly corner of West 
Third and St. Peter streets, which had previously been oc- 
cupied as a dwelling by Scott Campbell. On July 25th, 1847, 
she started a Sabbath school, with seven children, which on 
the third Sunday thereafter was increased to the number of 
twenty-five children.' From that date, fifty years ago, till the 
present time, this school has continued successfully, in growth 
and influence; and it is now known as the Sunday School of 
the First Baptist Church of this city. 

During the following winter of 1847-'48, Miss Bishop started 
the project of having a public building for the purposes of her 
school, to be used also for church purposes, public lectures, 
elections and other public gatherings. — the size to be 25 by 8€ 
feet. She organized, among the ladies, 4 'The St. Paul Circle 
of Industry," of which Mrs. Bass. Mrs. Jackson, and Mrs. Ir- 
vine, were members, the total Dumber being eight ladies. Tins 
was the first "Woman's Club" organised in this city. The 



money earned with the needle by the ladies of this society made 
a payment on the bill of lumber for this public building, which 
was finally completed and occupied in August, 1848. It stood 
on the north side of West Third street, about 100 feet westerly 
from St. Peter street, opposite to the site of the building now 
occupied by the West Publishing Company. 

In 1849 three separate schools were established in St. Paul, 
one of which was under the care of Miss Bishop. Our minds 
can scarcely comprehend the change and growth of our public 
schools, contrasting the present with the beginning fifty years 
ago. Miss Bishop was born in Vergennes, Vermont, January 
1st, 1817; and died in St. Paul, August 8th, 1883. To the time 
of her death, she was ever active and energetic in educational 
and Christian work. 

In commencing this review, it was my intention to notice 
briefly those of my associate officers, appointed by the Presi- 
dent of the United States during the first four years of our 
Territorial existence, who are now numbered among the de- 
parted; but I forbear with only the mention of their names: 

Charles K. Smith, Secretary of the Territory from June 1, 
1849, to October 23, 1851. 

Alexander Wilkin, Secretary of the Territory from October 
23, 1851, to May 15, 1853. 

Aaron Goodrich, Chief Justice, from June 1, 1849, to No- 
vember 13, 1851. 

Jerome Fuller, Chief Justice, from November 13, 1851, to 
December 16, 1S52. 

Henry Z. Hayner, Chief Justice, from December 16, 1S52, 
to April 7, 1853. 

David Cooper, Associate Justice, from June 1, 1S49, to 
April 7, 1853. 

Bradley B. Meeker, Associate Justice, from June 1, 1849, to 
April 7, 1853. 

Alexander M. Mitchell, United States Marshal, from April, 
1819, to June, 1851. 

Henry L. Tilden, United States Marshal, from June, 1861, 
to the date of his death, January 19th, 1S52, wbeo he was sur- 
ceeded by Joseph W. Furber, of whom 1 lia\ spoken. 



I cannot conclude these reminiscences of the past without 
a brief notice of the living. 

Here sits with us to-day our genial friend Simeon P. Fol- 
som, who came to St. Paul in July, 1847. If he was only dead, 
I could mention many good things of him, and how he gave 
cheer and comfort to the pioneer souls of 1847 and 1848. As 
he still lives, there yet remains to him the opportunity to add 
to his record a name that future generations will be proud to 

It would be unpardonable, if I failed to mention the name 
of our ever entertaining associate, William P. Murray, whose 
ingenuity to make a good story from nothing is unsurpassed 
by any "Old Settler." He can spin longer yarns, and tell you 
more cf those things and matters of which he has knowledge, 
as well as of others which he knows nothing about, than any 
other mortal. It was by "the skin of his teeth" that he became 
an "Old Settler." If the lingering days of December, 1849, had 
been made shorter, he would have been left in the snowbanks 
between the Black and Chippewa rivers of Wisconsin, when the 
sunlight of January 1st, 1850, broke forth. May his life be 
prolonged to give cheer, joy, and happiness to all "Old Set- 
tlers" for many days to come, as he has done in days gone by. 

And there is still with us our ancient friend of the St. Croix 
valley, John D. Ludden, who claims the year 1845 as the date 
of his birthright to the name of "Old Settler." His life in Min- 
nesota is a summary of good deeds and wise counsel in every 
movement for the development and prosperity of Minnesota. 
He gives to-day the same candid, cautious, and deliberate con- 
sideration to every measure that has for its purpose the welfare 
of the state and its citizens, as in the days of the Territory, 
when he represented the interests of the St. Croix valley in 
many sessions of its Legislature. 

I regret that Captain Russell Blakeley is not with us to day. 
Business matters require his presence in an eastern stale. His 
life for more than fifty years has been identified with projects 
and enterprises sufficient to make a volume of pioneer history, 
Even now in his age of more than fourscore years he exhibits 
that same foresight in the development of future possibilities 



of our city as in former years. For twenty years after the or- 
ganization of the Territory, he was instrumental in bringing 
thousands upon thousands of the early citizens into our state. 
Steamboats, Concord coaches, mud wagons, and other vehicles, 
were the instruments employed by him for that purpose. As 
long as life is spared to him, he can be relied upon as a prudent 
and sagacious counsellor in every undertaking and measure 
that will promote the prosperity of our city and state. 

There is also with us to-day another "Old Settler" who never 
fails to join us in our annual gathering; I refer to our genial 
and efficient secretary, August L. Larpenteur, who has been a 
resident of St. Paul since September 15th, 1843. From that 
date for more than forty years he was engaged in mercantile 
business in this city. He is the only person now living who as 
merchant and trader did business in St. Paul prior to the or- 
ganization of the Territory. He built the first frame dwelling 
house in St. Paul, in 1847, which became known in after years 
as the "Wild Hunter" saloon on Jackson street. 

From the beginning, Mr. Larpenteur was active and promi- 
nent in settling and arranging the title to the lots in the origi- 
inal "Town of St. Paul." In 1S47 St. Paul was uu surveyed 
government land. The original survey, by the United States 
government, of the town lines, was made in October, 1847; and 
in the following month of November the subdivisions were 
made. The original platting of St. Paul was made during the 
autumn of 1847, by Messrs. Ira B. Brunson and Benjamin W. 
Brunson, of Prairie du Chien; and the ownership of the various 
lots was amicably arranged and allotted among the claimants. 
At the government sale of the public lands at St. Croix Falls 
in August, 1848, it was mutually agreed among the claimants 
that Mr. H. H. Sibley of Mendota should make the purchase; 
and subsequently Mr. Larpenteur was selected as one of the 
three trustees to determine the just claims and rights of the 
claimants to the various lots in the town. Mr. Larpenteur 
was ever faithful to the trusts imposed upon him, and was 
endeared to the early settlers of St. Paul by his generosity and 
good fellowship toward them. Under the charter organisation 
of the "Town of St. Paul," in 1849, Mr, Larpenteur was elected 
one of the trustees, and for several years thereafter he held 



official positions, either in St. Paul or Ramsey county. For 
several years past he has not been engaged in any active busi- 
ness, and now in his advanced age lives surrounded with the 
comforts of a home, located in the western part of our city, 
where he has lived for more than forty years in the enjoyment 
of the affections of a beloved wife and children. 

What shall I say, aye, what can I say more than has been 
said for the last forty-eight years, of our venerable associate, 
Governor Alexander Ramsey, who proclaimed existence and 
life in the framework of Minnesota under the inspiration and 
sign manual of President Zachary Taylor and Secretary Dan- 
iel Webster? Associates, look upon him'as he sits with us to- 
day! Twenty years ago he made a pre-emption claim upon 
the last banquet plate of the Old Settlers' annual gathering, 
and he stands ready to-day to make good that claim against 
any of us. Who shall venture to contest it? 

As for your humble servant, he yields to none in high 
esteem and sincere respect for the "Old Settlers," and in hearty 
greetings to our Associates of the St. Croix valley. He still 
retains the youthful feelings of 1848, when he first trod upon 
the soil of this state, and to-day heartily joins with you all 
in commemorating the nativity of Minnesota. 

Thanks are due to our esteemed associate, George L. 
Becker, who has this day furnished each of us a memento in 
which are enrolled the names of our charter members, number- 
ing 102, which number has been reduced by the fell destroyer 
until now only twenty-one of those original members remain 

As I sat in my library reading yesterday evening my wife 
brought to me a framed photograph taken ten years ago to-day. 
June 1st, 18S7, from the steps of the capitol building. That 
photograph presents forty-five "Old Settlers'' in* a group. I 
looked upon those familiar faces with pleasure as well as in 
sorrow. Of that number twenty-two do not and cannot meet 
with us to-day, as they are gathered in other realms, from 
whence they cannot return; yet I feel that they arc with us 
to-day in memory dear. Thus fall the sore and yellow leaves. 



In 1840, Bishop Loras of Prairie du Chien, being desirous 
of developing the truths of Christianity, sent the Rev. Lucian 
Galtier as a missionary to St. Peter and Fort Snelling, situ- 
ated on opposite sides of the mouth of the St. Peter river, 
then so called. He found a number of Catholic families lo- 
cated at a point about six miles below the fort, some of whom 
had been driven off the Military Reserve, which extended then, 
according to military authority, down to what is now known 
as the "Seven Corners." He at once called the good people 
together and in a very short time a log chapel was erected 
and dedicated to their patron, Saint Paul, and hence the name 
was given to the settlement, and from that day attention was 
drawn to its locality. Subsequently, when the territorial or- 
ganization took place, the name was permanently adopted. 

These good people were principally old French voyageurs; 
some of them had been in the employ of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany; and others of them were employed by the American 
Pur Company, and by the sutler at Fort Snelling, who did 
more or less trading with the Indians. Whatever they re- 
quired had to be obtained either from the American Fur Com- 
pany's store at St. Peter, now known as Mendota. or from 
the sutler at Fort Snelling, there being no store in their 
midst, unless you would so call a few barrels of whisky ami 
sundry parcels of shot, powder, and tobacco, laid away in 
Peter Warrant's cellar and In some of the other settlers' cellars 
for the purpose of trading for a. few furs from the Indians. 

n,J^ ftd at the monthly mooting of the Executive Council, December 13 
1807. Mr. Elfelt died April 28, 18M). 


Parrant located at this point about the year 1838, and has 
been reported by some of our historians as a very bad char- 
acter, a bad man; but Mr. Larpenteur says: "I take issue 
with them on that point, as I knew him well; he was no 
worse than any of the pioneers at that time, and if his only 
crime was selling whisky to the Indians, they all did it; and 
the American Fur Company, under another name, sold ten 
barrels where the other poor fellows sold one." 

In the fall of 1842, Henry Jackson, a young merchant 
from Galena, was attracted to this point and came up here 
with a general stock of goods. He erected a log cabin, which 
served as both a dwelling and a store, on what is now the 
corner of Jackson and Bench streets, having bought of Ben- 
jamin Jarvis about two acres of his claim; and there he and 
his wife spent the winter, beginning what may be called the 
first commercial enterprise in the place. The following 
spring, in 1843, William Hartshorn of St Louis made a trip 
up the Mississippi river for the purpose of buying furs. The 
boat landed at St. Paul, and Mr. Jackson came on board and 
took passage up to Fort Snelling. On the boat Jackson made 
the acquaintance of Mr. Hartshorn, to whom he sold his win- 
ter collection of furs. At the same time the two entered into 
a co-partnership that was the beginning of the firm of Jackson 
& Hartshorn, which firm existed until its dissolution in 1847. 

J. W. Simpson opened a store here in the spring of 1843, 
which was no doubt the second in St. Paul. John R. Irvine, 
together with Mr. Alexander Megd, a Frenchman, also opened 
a store in 1843, with a general assortment of goods. Their 
place of business was near the site of the Minnesota Soap 
Company's plant on Eagle street. 

Capt Louis Robert came up from Prairie du Chien in the 
spring of 1S44 and bought the old cabin occupied by Peter 
Parrant in 1839 on the river bank at the foot of the cooler, a 
point which is now the corner of Jackson street and the levee. 

This year, 1844, Mr. Daniel Hopkins moved his stock of 
goods up from Red Rock, having had a trading post there for a 
year or two before. He bought a piece of ground from Henry 
Jackson, on the corner of Third and Jackson si roots, and upon 


it built a commendable frame store, which was probably the 
first one of the kind built in St. Paul. The Fire & Marine 
Insurance Building now occupies the greater part of the spot 
on which the Hopkins store stood. 

The following year, 1845, Dr. John J. Dewey opened the 
first drug store, just below Louis Robert's store, and in the 
same building Charles Cavalier carried on the harness busi- 
ness. Later on, in 1848, Cavalier sold out his harness business 
and entered into partnership with Dewey, forming the firm 
of Dewey & Cavalier, druggists. 

In 1847 the firm of Hartshorn & Jackson dissolved, Jackson 
retaining the old original stand. Hartshorn moved further up 
town and occupied a building formerly built by Sergeant 
Mortimer. Its location was on the spot now occupied by the 
City Central Police Station, on Third street, near Hill street. 
There he carried on his business of general merchandising 
and Indian trading until the spring of 1848, when he sold out 
and was succeeded by the firm of Freeman, Larpenteur & Co., 
who removed the stock down town into their new store, on 
the corner of the levee and Jackson street This firm was 
succeeded by John Randall & Co., in the fall of 1849. 

A. L. Larpenteur, after the dissolution of Freeman, Lar- 
penteur & Co., opened his store on the corner of Third and 
Jackson streets in the spring of 1850. About the same time, 
a young man came to St. Paul with letters of introduction to 
Gov. Ramsey and others. He engaged himself as a clerk to 
Mr. Larpenteur, became a member of his family, and remained 
with him until November, when, becoming homesick, he left 
St Paul on the last boat and returned to his home in Phila- 
delphia. That young man was Mr. William H. Shawn, who 
subsequently became the president of the St Paul & Duluth 
Railroad Company, and is now president of the National Bank 
of the Republic, Philadelphia. 

In 1837 the American Fur Company had a trading post 
at St. Peter in charge of Henry n. Sibley. William II. Forbes 
clerked for Sibley until 1847, when the Fur Company estab- 
lished a branch store in St Paul, which was known as the 
St Paul Outfit, and Forbes was placed in charge. 


In 1848 Nathan Myrick came here from La Crosse, and 
engaged in general merchandising. The same year A. R. 
French, a discharged soldier from Fort Snelling, engaged in 
the saddlery business, and the Pioneer in its business notices 
subsequently called him the "Harness Mantua-maker." 

In June, 1849, Levi Sloan opened quite a large stock of 
groceries and liquors on the upper part of Third street oppo- 
site to the American House; Hugh McCann sat upon the bench 
as a cobbler; Henry W. and Charles H. Tracy opened on the 
lower part of Third street a general stock of merchandise; and 
the McCloud Brothers on Bench street, near Minnesota street, 
opened the first exclusive stock of general hardware in St. Paul. 

In October, 1849, Pierre Chouteau, Henry H. Sibley, Henry 
M. Rice, and Sylvanus B. Lowery, previously trading under 
the name of the Sioux, Winnebago & Chippeway Outfit, dis- 
solved partnership. Henry M. Rice became their successor, 
and removed the business and stock to Watab, on the east 
side of the Mississippi river a few miles above Sauk Rapids. 

The following month, the Elfelt Brothers occupied the 
building that had been vacated by the Outfit Company, with 
a general stock of dry goods, clothing, etc. The building was 
located on Eagle street at the corner of Spring street, near 
the upper levee. 

Bartlett Presley started the same autumn with a small 
stock of pipes, tobacco, and confectionery. He occupied a log 
cabin on Robert street, near Third street. He built a small 
stand outside, upon which he displayed his wares, and from 
this humble beginning he built up a large and nourishing 

This enumeration comprises nearly all the business enter- 
prises of our city up to January 1st, 1850. During that year, 
as in 1S49, which saw the organization of Minnesota as a Ter- 
ritory, a great immigration to Minnesota and to St. Paul took 
place. Thenceforward the number of traders and lines of 
business rapidly increased. 

• "v. 

Minnkrota Historical Sooiity, 

Voi,. IX. Platk III. 



After the admission of the State of Wisconsin into the Fed- 
eral Union, that part of the Territory of that name outside of 
the state lines was left in an uncertain political condition. 
Was it still the Territory of Wisconsin with the old laws yet 
in force, or was it not? The general opinion prevailed that 
this section was still under the laws passed by the Territory 
of Wisconsin, and that the governor and the secretary of the 
Territory were still occupying the same positions in reference 
to the section sliced off. It was, however, thought best that 
an agent be sent to Washington to urge the creation of a new 
Territory. Prominent citizens from different sections of the 
outside Territory met at Stillwater and selected, for this pur- 
pose, Mr. Henry H. Sibley, who was then at the head of the 
American Fur Company. No politics entered into this se- 
lection; it was made because Mr. Sibley was then the most 
eminent and influential person in the region. He proceeded 
to Washington. After the lapse of a few months, an act 
creating the new Territory was passed and Mr. Sibley was ad- 
mitted as its delegate, under what might be called a "squat- 
ter" election. President Taylor appointed Alexander Ramsey 
to be the governor of the new Territory of Minnesota. He 
arrived in St. Paul in the latter part of May, 1840, and shortly 
thereafter issued his official proclamation, declaring the Ter- 
ritory organized, and provided for the election and for the 
meeting of a legislature. 

On June 14, 1849, Colonel James M. Goodhue, in an issue 
of the Pioneer, the first newspaper published within the limits 
of the new territory, urged that there Bhould be n<> parties in 

•Read at the monthly meeting: of the Kxceutlve Council, February \i. UN6. 


its politics, as the people had no vote in national matters and 
had no power to command anything, while on the contrary 
they had everything to ask of Congress. "What we want, 
let us ask for; 'ask, and you shall receive/ But to hold out 
one hand to secure a gift and the other to strike, is the con- 
duct of a madman." 

This w r as the declaration of the policy which w r as to be- 
come and remain the dominant one in the new Territory for 
the next few years. Goodhue w T as elected public printer by 
the first legislature. 

It would be impossible, among Americans, and especially 
among those in the West, to be satisfied with one political 
party; the elements soon began to work, to organize an oppo- 
sition party. This resulted in a convention held October 20, 
1849, in which a platform was adopted, according to its own 
language, embracing the principles of Jefferson, Madison, 
Monroe, Jackson, and Polk. The latter had already almost 
sunk into forgetfulness, but the memories of fat gifts of pat- 
ronage still lingered in the minds of a few members of the 
convention. Rice does not appear to have been present upon 
the occasion of this convention, nor Mr. Sibley. The latter, 
however, wrote a letter, affirming his faith in the political 
principles of Jefferson. But he continued to cooperate with 
those citizens who thought it their paramount duty to work 
together to advance the interests of the Territory. 

The national administration, and the majority of Congress, 
were Whig; but the elements in the territory were generally 
Democratic. As late as 1S51 there were not sufficient public 
lands in Minnesota to supply one year's immigration, with a 
quarter-section to each head of a family. All the country 
west of the Mississippi was Indian land, and all north of a 
line drawn east and west through and about the locality of 
Princeton. The most important of all political movements 
was the one to make a treaty with the Sioux, to obtain a 
title to their land in Minnesota. Mr. Sibley had such com- 
manding influence with the Sioux, that no treaty could be 
made without his aid. Mr. Rice had no influence whatever 

with the Sioux. It was necessary tor Gov. Ramsey, in bring- 
ing about a treaty, to enter into a political movement with 
Sibley, which he proceeded to do. The Influence of Mr. SPdoy 


among the Democrats in Congress, and of Gov. Ramsey with 
the National Whig administration, resulted in the extinguish- 
ment of the Sioux title to all of their land within the present 
limits of Minnesota, except a strip of land lying along the 
Minnesota river below Granite Falls, about ten miles in width 
and sixty miles long, which was retained as an Indian reserva- 

1 There was bitter opposition to this treaty, and many 
charges of fraud were made. But the opposition came from 
those who were unable to manipulate the treaty in their own 
interests. The charges preferred were investigated by the 
United States Senate; and the parties censured were declared 
by that body to be not only innocent, but their conduct was 
declared to be highly meritorious and commendable. The 
public mind in Minnesota settled down to the belief that these 
charges were brought by a set of unscrupulous men who were 
not permitted to manipulate matters for their own interests. 
These treaties redounded more to the interests of Minnesota, 
in its early days, than all other measures combined. The 
prominence of Mr. Sibley, and his powerful aid, rendered him 
the most influential man among the Democrats in the Ter- 
ritory. The Whigs of all stripes soon were of the opinion 
that Gov. Ramsey exhibited the greatest wisdom when he 
formed the coalition with the Sibley Democrats. The Whigs 
alone could not have made the treaties. The Whigs and the 
Rice Democrats could not have made the treaties. Only the 
Whigs and the Sibley Democrats could make the treaties, and 
they made them. 

The opposition to the Territorial administration organized 
and repeatedly elected members of the legislature, but never 
a majority. The larger number of Democrats preferred to act 
with the majority of the Whigs. But still the organization 
of forces against the dominent power went on. In August. 
1850, a coalition of anti-Sibley Democrats and Whigs brought 
out Colonel Mitchell as candidate against Sibley for delegate 
to Congress. This election resulted strongly in favor of Sibley. 

A very bitter feud arose bet ween t he members of t he Amer- 
ican Pur Company and Mr. Henry M. Rice, who had formerly 
been a member of the company. The Pur Company claimed 
that Mr. Rice had acquired title to that part of St. Paul thou 



known as the upper town, holding it in the same manner as 
the title to Kittson's addition and other property in the lower 
town was held, simply for the benefit of the Fur Company. 
Mr. Rice had given away many lots in the upper town and 
had sold many, and he was the man above all others instru- 
mental in building up that section. Outside of the members 
of the Fur Company, he was admired for his generosity and 
•public spirit. 

To recover this property, a suit in chancery was brought 
by the Fur Company against Mr. Rice, charging him with all 
sorts of fraud. The feeling of bitterness spread from the 
principals to their adherents throughout the Territory, ex- 
tending to judges, jurors and officers of the court, as well as 
to the legislature, and justice was but little regarded. As 
an instance of the extravagance of official conduct, there can 
be found, in the first or second Minnesota Supreme Court re- 
ports, a foot-note, by the official reporter, to this effect, "It is 
but justice to Mr. Rice to say that he denies each and every 
one of the charges in the bill." This, I think, is the only in- 
stance in any law report published in the English language, 
where a reporter stepped out of his official line to defend 
parties to a lawsuit. The majority of the legislature was 
"Fur," and they created new judicial districts, to which they 
banished inimical judges, where they would have no judicial 
functions to perform. 

Naught came of this suit, and with its disappearance, and 
with the withdrawal of the American Fur Company from the 
Indian trade, the political influence of Mr. Rice ascended rap- 
idly, while that of Mr. Sibley declined. At the next delegate 
election, Mr. Rice became the candidate of the Democratic 
party, and was elected by a large majority over Alexander 
Wilkin, who ran as an independent Whig. Some Whigs, and 
nearly all the Democrats, supported Mr. Rice. By this time 
it became apparent that the political elements of Minnesota 
were Democratic. After this accession of Mr. Rice to power, 
he became and continued the undoubted leader of his party 
for" eight years. 

During the days of the Territory, there was never any 
general organization of the Whijjs as a party. Borne of then 
voted with the Rice Democrats, but the greater number with 

■ V 


the Sibley side. However, there was a local exception to 
this. At Stillwater there was a small and very select body 
of Whigs, who preferred to act upon a higher plane than that 
chosen by either of the other parties. These Whigs met in 
convention, and nominated a straight W T hig ticket. They 
polled fifty-two votes in Stillwater, and elected a member of 
the House of Representatives. This member, upon arriving at 
the capitol, kept the House nearly three weeks from organiz- 
ing in the attempt to force his own election as speaker. This 
effort cost nearly ten thousand dollars. But, as Uncle Sam 
paid the bills, it did not excite much indignation on the score 
of economy. This representative then lowered his aims and 
compromised upon the proposition to elect his friend as as- 
sistant clerk of the house. The total fruits of this effort of 
the select Whig party was the election of a dull man to an 
inferior office, which he was incompetent to fill. Thus ended 
the first and only attempt to act as a separate party. 

During the next four years the Democrats had everything 
their own way, but they were divided into factions. A prom- 
inent man among them was David Olmsted, who led, during 
a part of this period, the anti-Rice forces. After the ap- 
pointment of Willis A. Gorman as territorial governor, he also 
joined the anti-Rice forces, and endeavored to build up a Dem- 
ocratic party in opposition to Mr. Rice; but the latter pos- 
sessed too many friends, particularly among the old settlers, 
to be supplanted by a newcomer. In 1854 the passage of the 
Nebraska bill, and the actions of the Democratic administra- 
tion in Kansas, shocked the anti-slavery sentiment of the 
North, and made a deep impression in Minnesota. Many of 
the Democrats threw off allegiance to their party, while others 
resolved to fight the slavery propaganda inside of party lines. 

In March, 1S55, a few people, strongly anti-slavery, most of 
them former Democrats, met at St. Anthony, passed strong 
resolutions upon the slavery question, and provided for a 
general Territorial convention, to be held at St. Faul on the 
25th of the following July. At the meeting in St Anthony, 
tho name Republican was first applied to a party within the 
Territory. This name was adopted by the Julv convention, 
ami the party was Anally launched under thai name. The 
call for this July convention w as signed by Alexander Ramsey, 
William R. Marshall, and about twelve others. The conven- 


tion adopted and sent forth a strong set of resolutions. It 
elected a central committee of fifteen, of which the writer was 
made chairman, and was thus provided with the full machin- 
ery of a party, which party even a united Democracy could 
hardly make head against. This convention nominated Wil- 
liam' R. Marshall as delegate to Congress. On the same day, 
Mr. Rice was nominated as the Democratic candidate of the 
National Democracy. Some time after this, Mr. Olmsted was 
brought out as the anti-Nebraska Democratic candidate. The 
election resulted in favor of Mr. Rice, who received a hand- 
some plurality, but not a majority. 

The meeting at St. Anthony, and the convention at St. 
Paul, had been governed by a set of men, a majority of whom 
were very radical and might be called purists. They attempt- 
ed to build a political party upon the lines of a church organ- 
ization. They put into the platform a Maine Liquor Law 
plank. Perhaps they thought that this plank w r ould be ac- 
ceptable to a majority of the people; for, some years before, 
the legislature had passed a Maine liquor law, to be effective 
upon the ratification by the people. This law was approved 
by about fifty-eight per cent of the voters. To those of you 
who have been familiar with St. Paul for the last twenty-five 
years, it will seem a little amusing that this law was approved 
by its electors, with a good majority. When its vote was 
ascertained, all the church bells of the city rang for joy. The 
Olmsted Democrats denounced the proslavery ideas of the 
National Democrats, and the Maine liquor law of the Repub- 
licans. Minnesota, at this early date, had acquired a large 
German population, of whom 00 per cent, at least, were anti- 
slavery, and 100 per cent against the Maine liquor law. They 
voted principally for Olmsted. This was the first and last 
move ever made in a Republican general convention for a gen- 
eral prohibitory liquor law in Minnesota. 

In 1854 and 1S55, a matter creating quite a commotion in 
politics arose out of a grant, of lands made by Oongivss to aid 
in the building of railroads. Immediately upon the passage 
of the act, the word "or" or "and/? 1 do not remember which, 
had been changed, so as to give the lands to a then existing 
railroad company. Congress, in its Indignation, immediately 

repealed the act. The company claimed that rights were it 
once vested in the grant, which placed it beyond the power of 



repeal. A great political fight followed in Minnesota, eon- 
fined solely to the Democrats. The party friends of the rail- 
road company, headed by Mr. Rice, were on one side, and the 
friends and appointees of General Gorman on the other side. 
The latter called themselves "anti-fraud Democrats." Both 
parties had their newspaper organs; and a stranger, reading 
them, would have supposed that the people of the place were 
nearly all bad. In a year or two thereafter, the United States 
courts decided that the repealing act was valid, and that no 
grant existed. This removed the great source of contention 
between the parties in the Territorial times. A stranger then 
reading the newspapers would have thought that the people 
of the country were tolerably good. 

The rapid growth of the Republicans united the different 
factions of the Democratic party, and from then on till after 
the admission of the state, during the years 1856 to 1860, a 
great work was done on behalf of the Republicans, to educate 
the voters to their way of thinking. Nearly all the Repub- 
lican speakers of national reputation were brought to Minne- 
sota to do missionary work. Of these, I can recall the names 
of Lyman Trumbull, Owen Lovejoy, John P. Hale, Zachary 
Chandler, Dan Mace, Galusha A. Grow, Schuyler Colfax, Carl 
Schurz, and Frank P. Blair, Jr. Among a portion of the people 
there existed an opinion that the Republicans were a little 
puritanical in their notions; and it was thought, by the Cen- 
tral Committee, that Frank P. Blair, Jr., could do them a great 
deal of good. He lived in St. Louis, and, in that city, had 
made a gallant fight in behalf of the anti-slavery cause, with 
great success. He was immensely popular with the "boTS." 
He came, and there was no disappointment iu the result. 
Some funny incidents occurred among other things. In an 
ambitious city in the Minnesota valley, there was a coterie of 
active young Democrats, who conspired to defeat his work in 
their locality. Upon his arrival, they agreed to take him in 
charge, and two or three of their number were to show him 
Democratic attention. After an hour or two, two or three 
more were to take him in charge and continue the attention, 
and so on. On his arrival, they proceeded i«» carry out their 
plans. At the time appointed for the Bepublican meeting, 
Kamson appeared, and made a powerful anti-slavery argument 


The Democratic zealots were not there. These Delilahs had 
been shorn and were helpless. They had forgotten that Clair 
belonged to one of the oldest Democratic families in the coun- 
try, and that his father had been the most intimate adviser of 
General Jackson. Either they had forgotten this, or, if not, 
they had not yet discovered the law of heredity. After this, 
there was no further attempt to overcome Blair by Demo- 
cratic weapons. 

Another speaker who exercised great influence was Carl 
Schurz. This distinguished orator, who was master of the 
English as well as of the German language, possessed great 
clearness of ideas, exactness of expression, and sincerity of 
manner, and made a most profound impression upon Ameri- 
cans as well as upon Germans. 

In the year 1857 commenced the great campaign, wherein 
the stakes were many times larger than ever before. A state 
constitution was to be made and adopted, and under it were 
to be elected a governor and state officers, two, if not three, 
members of congress, and two United States senators. In 
view of these great prizes, all factions in either party came 
together, and the battle was fought with united forces on both 
sides. In the first election, both sides claimed the election 
of a majority of their own faith, as delegates to the constitu- 
tional convention. Upon the arrival of the delegates at St. 
Paul, an effort was made by the leaders on both sides to agree 
upon a line of conduct which would avoid a disgraceful scene, 
and, perhaps, a failure to make a constitution at all. The 
parties could not agree, and each side prepared to grab first, 
and as much as they could, or, to use the language of the re- 
spective parties, to secure their rights. 

The convention was to meet in the hall of the House of 
Representatives, at noon. As both territorial and city ad- 
ministrations were Democratic, it was feared, on the part of 
the Republicans, that an attempt might be made to clear the 
hall of Republicans, or to prevent, by the aid of the police, the 
entrance of Republican delegates to the hall. The Repub- 
licans concluded to take possession of the hall the evening 

before, ramp there all night, And he on hand when the hour 

arrived. This they did. As the hour approached, the Demo- 
cratic delegates came into die hall; ami precisely B>1 twelve 
o'clock, Mr. Chase, Secretary of the Territory, ami Mr. North. 



a Republican delegate, sprang to their feet, nominated a chair- 
man, and declared him elected. The chairman declared elect- 
ed by Mr. North got possession of the seat first, and the Re- 
publicans proceeded to organize the convention. 

The Democrats withdrew, and, after caucusing awhile, ap- 
peared at the outside of the door of the hall with ex-Governor 
Gorman at their head. He, after looking in, turned to his 
followers, and in that clear, sonorous voice of his, said, "A 
mob has taken possession of the Hall of Representatives and 
the convention will proceed to the Senate Chamber to organ- 
ize," which the Democratic wing immediately proceeded to do. 

About one-third of the time occupied by the convention 
in its entirety was devoted by- orators to showing posterity 
that their particular convention was a legal one, and the other 
a false one. Hennepin county was entitled to eight delegates, 
and without these, the Democratic convention could in no 
sense claim a majority. The Republican candidates from that 
county and received the regular certificates of election issued 
by the authority provided by law, for that purpose, namely, 
the register of deeds. The Democrats complained that he 
had ignored the facts and had arbitrarily and unlawfully is- 
sued these certificates. The Democratic governor promptly 
removed the register. The people renominated him for the 
same office, and the issue was plainly made up. ne was tri- 
umphantly elected by several hundred majority. "Vox populi, 
vox Dei," is an old Democratic maxim; and, tried by this test. 
I submit to you, my hearers, did the Democrats have any 
claim whatever to have the regular constitutional convention? 
As I do not believe that this maxim is always infallible, I 
cannot answer the query myself. 

After the speakers in each convention had exhausted them- 
selves in making their side appear right to those present and 
to posterity, they proceeded to the business of making a con- 
stitution; appropriate committees were appointed, and com- 
mon sense soon began to prevail among the better men of both 
sides. As soon as an article was drawn and discussed by 
each convention, it was submitted to the proper committee 
of tbe opposite wing; and so on. through all of the different 

subjects, until an instrument agreeing in all respects, Includ- 
ing orthography and punctuation, was adopted by ea< h bed v. 


As a rule, the ablest men of each party belonged to one or 
the other conventions, and I have no doubt that if each party 
had acted entirely independent of the other, the result would 
have been practically the adoption of the same instrument. 
The art of constitution-making had then become well under- 
stood, and all constitutions made during the previous twenty 
years contained* practically the same principles; although it 
was believed, by the members of each party, that the framing 
of a constitution under the guidance of their side would re- 
dound much to the advantage of their party. I do not think 
it would have made any difference, except in the matter of 
apportionment for the members of the legislature. The party 
which obtained the mastery would have taken good care that 
their side should not suffer in this respect. The constitution 
formed gave universal satisfaction and was approved by the 

After the adjournment of the constitutional convention, 
each party met in convention and nominated candidates for 
the different state offices, and also for three members of con- 
gress. The Democratic ticket was headed by the name of 
H. H. Sibley for governor, and the Republican by Alexander 
Ramsey. After an exciting campaign, the Democratic ticket 
was declared elected, and Sibley installed as governor in ac- 
cordance therewith. The Democrats obtained a small major- 
ity in the legislature, and elected Henry M. Rice and General 
James Shields as United States senators. The latter was a 
newcomer, and his election was a bitter dose to many of the 
old settlers in the party. 

At the next election, in 1859, the Republicans again placed 
Alexander Ramsey at the head of their ticket. In 1S57 the 
Democrats had the control of the election machinery and of 
the canvassing board. It was unanimously believed by the 
Republicans, and by many of the Democrats, that Governor 
Sibley was not elected, but only counted in. The race in 18.iT 
had shown that ex-Governor Ramsey was a very popular man 
among the masses, running several hundred votes ahead of 
the balance of his ticket. The idea that he had been unjustly 
treated in 1857 was of immense advantage to him in L859, and 
to the balance of the Republican ticket, and the entire Repub- 
lican ticket was then elected. The Republican parly was thus 
entrenched in power in the Stale of Minnesota, and they have 



never since been dislodged, during a period of nearly forty 
years. There have been but two cases in the United States 
where the Republican party has shown such a hold upon state 

Perhaps no portion of the West contained a body of men 
equal in ability to those found here upon the organization of 
the Territory. Most of them, although passing the greater 
portion of their lives in the wilderness, were well educated, 
and intellectually were of surprising brightness. It was a 
singular fact that all the Indian traders were Democrats ; not 
a Whig, as far as I knew, was among them. This can be ac- 
counted for by the fact that during their residence here they 
were under a national Democratic administration, with the ex- 
ception of the four years comprising the terms of Presidents 
Taylor and Fillmore. It was clearly their interest to be on 
good terms with the administration from whom they received 
the license to trade, and who could facilitate or hinder their 
trade with the Indians. I think that it was their realization 
of these facts that caused the traders, under the Whig adminis- 
tration, to keep aloof from building up and maintaining a 
strict partisan organization of their own liking, and which 
led them to cooperate cordially with those who claimed to 
work for the interests of the Territory. 

There was something peculiar to the Indian trade which 
benumbed the fine notions of honor necessary to success in 
commerce between white men. To those having ^ slight 
insight into the trade, it would seem to be more or less neces- 
sary that the commercial conscience should be other than that 
existing between civilized people. It was a singular fact that 
nearly all these traders carried their Indian conscience into 
politics. These men became after a time much disliked by 
the masses of their own party, and were styled by them "Moc- 
casin Democrats/' However, they were the brains of the 
party and pulled it through some very tight places, through 
which they would not have passed without their aid. The 
influence of the Moccasin Democracy ended with the election 
of Mr. Lincoln, it had supported Breckenridge m against 
Douglas, and made a very sorry exhibit of strength, From 
that time it disappeared as a political factor. 

The press exercised a great influence in politics, as well as 

i» the development of the material Interest! of the Territory. 


I cannot close this paper without some mention of a most 
remarkable character, Col. James M. Goodhue, who, during 
his short life in Minnesota, of about three years, exercised a 
greater influence upon the political life and material develop- 
ment of Minnesota than all the other newspaper men during 
that period. Born a Yankee, liberally educated, he came west 
as a young man, and advanced farther west to Minnesota 
within a few days after its Territorial existence began. With- 
out capital, but with a hand-press and a font of type, he com- 
menced to publish his paper in a wooden shanty, which he 
with his own hands put up. He acted at the same time as 
editor, typesetter, devil, and newsboy. Soon a large portion 
of the people of Minnesota read his paper, and its circulation 
extended throughout the Western, Middle, and Eastern states. 
I first read it in Missouri, in 1850, and through it was led to 
come to Minnesota. Goodhue had the sarcasm of a Junius, 
and the wit of a Prentiss. As a specimen of the former, at 
the conclusion of a scathing article upon some of the Terri- 
torial officials, he said, "The gall we have shown is very honey 
compared to what we have in reserve for them." As a speci- 
men of his wit, with the sting in it, in speaking of a federal 
oflicer whose influence in obtaining his appointment was a 
mystery, and whose business conduct was not always credit- 
able, and who in the free and easy western way had borrowed 
a small boat and gone down the river in the night, he says: 
"He stole into the Territory, he stole in the Territory, and he 
stole out of the Territory." As a specimen of his playful 
humor, he says : "Our citizens were treated to an address by 
our distinguished townsman, the Hon. John A. Smith, Esq., 
author of The Black Hawk War,' and an unpublished Novel 
of Intense Interest!" Again, upon twins appearing in his 
family, he says, "Our patrons ought now to take two papers." 
In the winter season, when Minnesota was shut off from the 
world and without mail for weeks, he published a most inter- 
esting paper; its issue was looked for with the expectation 
of something racy, and the readers wore not disappointed. 
His paper always advocated the adoption of measures aeces- 
sarily attendant upon a high civilization. 11*- wrote three 
editorials urging the necessity of securing grounds for i public 
cemetery, but he died before this wish was realized, and to day 
no man knoweth where his bones lie. 



The most remarkable man, in many respects, who ever 
appeared in the Northwest, was Joseph R. Brown. Coming 
as he did, at the age of fourteen, a drummer-boy in the United 
States Army, he remained in this section for nearly sixty 
years. He was engaged principally in the Indian trade. I 
think he was a clerk in the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature 
for one term. Certain it was that, as Secretary of the Minne- 
sota Council during its first and second sessions, as clerk of 
the Minnesota House at its fourth session, in 1853, during 
the next two years as a member of the Council, and in 1S57 
as a member of the House, he was one of the most influential 
men in the Legislature. He drew up most of the bills, and 
often told the presiding officer how to rule. This he did in 
no dictatorial manner, but because nearly all of the members 
knew nothing about legislation. He usually attended party 
conventions, and, although often weak in the number of his 
followers, he would gather in a good portion of the fruits of 
the convention. He had a most infectious laugh, and a keen 
sense of humor, and was always the center of a crowd. Those 
people who had been prejudiced against him, having no knowl- 
edge of him except that derived from newspaper accounts, and 
from his political enemies, after being a few moments in his 
presence, were satisfied that "Jo, the Juggler," was not so 
bad a man after all. For many years after I came to Minne- 
sota, knowing but little of him through personal contact, and 
a good deal of him from newspaper accounts, I thought him 
the very incarnation of deviltry. During the years of 1863 
and 1864, I had a good deal of business with him, and was 
much in his society, and I soon learned to admire him. He, 
no doubt, had been the best abused man in the country. He 
would often laugh in late years over the bad things that had 
been said of him. He possessed one very noble attribute: he 
entertained no hard feeling towards those who had reviled 
him. He had a good heart, and would put himself to a great 
deal of trouble to do a kindness, even to those who had 
tradured him. He was a well-road man. and wrote and spoke 
the French language with ease. At one time ho was the 
editor of the Pioneer, the organ of the Democratic party, and 

filled the position with credit. Be would dash otT rapidly 
pages of editorial matter, ready for the typo, without an 



erasure. How be, as well as some other of the earlier traders 
acquired their learning, is a mystery to me. 

The most prominent and influential men in the earlier 
politics, who overshadowed all others, were Ramsey, Sibley, 
and Rice, and I think they stood in the order in which I have 
named them. There were several other leading men who 
afterwards gained political distinction, but the limit of this 
paper prevents my describing them. 

Mr. Rice had to make his way against the business power of 
his enemies, and he succeeded in getting to the top. He was 
a man of fascinating address and great energy, and his labor, 
while in Congress, was unflagging. He worked for the people 
at large, as well as for individuals,- for political foes, as well 
as friends, and no official from Minnesota has been his equal 
in getting work done for his constituents. Many Whigs went 
over to the Democratic party and remained there, owing to 
their attachment for Mr. Rice. 

Nearly all the actors in the events I have described are 
now dead. Before their departure, all bitterness accruing 
from political strife had ceased and they took their leave in 
peace, with feelings of good will towards all. Full-grown 
* men upon the stage of life, like boys in their school days, say 
bad things at times about each other, call each other liars 
and other opprobrious names, and have their fights occasion- 
ally. Yet, when these days are past, such matters are only 
touched upon as subjects of merriment and joke. 

There was one thing about the early pioneers that their 
descendants should be proud of, namely, that no disloyal 
voice was ever raised against the Federal Union. Among all 
the factions in the parties at the time of the outbreak of the 
Civil War, the number of disloyal persons could be counted 
on the fingers of one hand. The contrast in this respect with 
some of the neighboring states east, and south of us should 
be remembered by us and those who come after us with great 
pride. It would perhaps be a good thing for us to become 
worshipers of the patriotic manes of our ancestors and of the 
founders of this state. 



Three blocks away from where we are now sitting, on the 
first rise of the bluff, is situated Park Place, a square or more 
in extent, with a pleasant little park in the center. Summit 
avenue bounds it on the north, St. Peter street on the east, 
College avenue on the south, and Rice street on the west. 

Entering this park from St. Peter street, you will discover 
on the south side, in the midst of a row of neat cottages, a 
medium-sized frame building, rather antique in its style of 
architecture, with its gable end toward the street, like the 
old Albany houses in Knickerbocker days. This modest struc- 
ture, now neglected and uninviting, has a history, and that 
history is connected with early days of St. Paul. This little 
house was builded by the founders of the Episcopal Church 
in Minnesota, and was occupied by the first missionaries of 
that church for some years. This was in 1S50, when St. Paul 
was a small village of one thousand inhabitants, confined to. 
the plateaus below the site of Park Place, and grouped about 
the upper landing, at the foot of what is now Chestnut street 
Fark Place then was in a very real way the edge of the wilder- 
ness, which, almost unbroken, extended northward into the 
frozen land of the unknown. 

It may be of interest to many, and will servo the intent of 
this paper, if I briefly sketch the history connected with the 

'Read before the Society, March 28, 1808. 


purchase and occupancy of this tract of land at that early 
day. It is so closely linked with the history of St. Paul and 
Minnesota, that it should not be overlooked by the one who, 
in the future, may write the history of this city and common- 

This early history is closely linked with the life and experi- 
ences of a very remarkable man, the Rev. James Lloyd Breck. 
Let us take a condensed restrospect of his career. It has 
within it a combination of remarkable qualities, illustrative 
of the character of the men who, in all ages, have been the 
pioneers of institutional life, both in the affairs of Church 
and State. Man is always the central fact around which, and 
from which, springs the crystallization of all organism in the 
growth and development of the race. In studying man we 
study the meaning and motive of every organism, and become 
cognizant of the substantial purpose which underlies all. The 
more mature development of the institution may, and doubt- 
less will, depart widely from the form involved in the person- 
ality of its founder, but the energizing force generated by that 
founder is never wholly exhausted. This law and principle are 
wonderfully illustrated in the work of this early missionary 
and founder of ecclesiastical institutions, James Lloyd Breck. 
He was born in Philadelphia in 1818, graduated from the 
University of Pennsylvania in 1838, and from the General 
Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York 
in 1841. 

It was during his seminary course that the project of going 
into the wilderness of Wisconsin, and founding there an asso- 
ciate mission, almost monastic in its character, first entered 
his mind and crystallized into a purpose. The first missionary 
bishop of the Northwest, Jackson Kemper, visited the sem- 
inary and in glowing language, and with high enthusiasm, 
told the story of the new land and its vast possibilities for 
devoted missionary endeavor. His words sank deep into the 
impressionable heart of the young theological student, ami be, 
unhesitatingly, offered himself to Bishop Kemper for ihis 
work. Two others, classmates, llobart and Adams, threw in 



their lot with him. On their graduation and ordination in 
the early summer of 1841 they started on the then long and 
fatiguing journey to the Northwest. Wisconsin then was 
almost a wilderness, but the tide of immigration was swelling 
and flowing over its prairies and into its forests. Breck, and 
his co-laborers, planted their standard on the outward edge 
of this outflow by a cluster of beautiful lakes in the -very heart 
of the virgin forest, and began their singularly courageous and 
self-denying work, which lives to-day in the flourishing Theo- 
logical Seminary of Nashotah. 

Their life was one of extreme simplicity, and their mis- 
sionary labors most primitive in their character. For their 
daily bread they relied upon the continued interest of eastern 
friends; their lives were full of privation, but the record, as 
read in their letters, was one of enthusiastic, unconquerable 
zeal. The institution grew ; it was the Iona of the west. Mis- 
sionaries trained therein went forth with the advancing popu- 
lation, preaching the gospel and founding churches. 

Years went on; this school of the prophets became a perma- 
nent fact. Breck grew impatient of this circumscribed life. 
His soul longed for the freedom of a new missionary field, 
where the seed could again be sown in virgin soil. Others 
now could carry forward the work he had founded and nur- 
tured. His eyes turned longingly toward the west, to the 
border of the upper Mississippi, to the Territory of Minnesota, 
just organized. It was practically an unknown land. The 
white man had founded a few small settlements upon its ex- 
treme eastern border, but its vast interior was the home of 
the Ojibway and the Sioux. The voice of God called him to 
go in and possess this land for the gospel and his church. 
Like St. Paul, he was "not disobedient unto the heavenly 
vision," but, hearing, obeyed. 

With two kindred spirits, Timothy Wilcoxson and John A. 
Merrick, he left the comfortable environs of Xashotah and 
started westward. They reached the Mississippi, where now 
stands the thriving city of La Crosse. The Kev. Mr. Wilcox- 


son in a Tetter tells the story of their experiences there in the 
following words: 

"We spent the fourth Sunday after Trinity, June 23d, 1850, at Prai- 
rie La Crosse — then a hamlet of fifteen or twenty houses. We held 
service and celebrated the Holy Communion in the morning, on a 
bluff about two miles back of the landing. In the afternoon we held 
a service by the river side at the house of a German named Levy. The 
next morning we paddled a canoe over the river, some distance above 
La Crosse, and there kept the Feast of St. John the Baptist. And 
there, for the first time, the Associate Mission for Minnesota stood on 
the soil of Minnesota. A rustic cross was reared beneath a large and 
spreading elm tree; and the stone on which the elements of the Holy 
Sacrament were consecrated was the same thin slab of limestone that 
the day before served as an altar on Altar Rock, back of La Crosse 

Such a scene carries us in imagination back to those days 
of primitive Christianity when the groves were God's temples 
and the blue sky the canopy of their altar. The picturesque 
simplicity of the lives of these men was one of their distin- 
guishing and unique characteristics. 

Leaving La Crosse, they came on northward to St. Paul, 
then a struggling village at the head of navigation, where 
they were to found their permanent center of missionary 
work. This was forty-eight years ago. The population of St. 
Paul was, even then, most cosmopolitan in its make-up. This 
was the distributing point for the whole interior and the point 
from which the far away settler in Rupert's Land obtained his 
supplies and carried them back over the hundreds of miles 
of prairie in his primitive cart to his home on the border of 
the Red river of the North. A few years afterward, the Eng- 
lish traveller, Laurence Qliphant, described in vivid, if not in 
flattering terms, the condition of life then existing in St. Paul. 
He wrote: 

As the Territory is only six years old, all here are strangers and 
adventurers; and the most confused Babel of Languages g reat ! our 
ears as we stroll along, of course, the Anglo-Saxon language, in its 
varied modifications of Yankee, English, Scotch, and Irish, prevails; 



but there is plenty of good French, and the voyageur patois, Chippewa 
or Sioux, German, Dutch, and Norwegian. The possessors of these 
divers tongues are, however, all very industrious and prosperous, and 
nappy in the anticipation of fortune-making. Joining ourselves to 
some of these, we may enter with, them a bowling-saloon, as these 
afford great opportunities for observing the manners and customs of 
the inhabitants. The roughest characters from all parts of the West, 
between the Mississippi and the Pacific, collect here, and from morn- 
ing till night, shouts of hoarse laughter, extraordinary and compli- 
cated imprecations, the shrill cries of the boy markers calling the 
game, and the booming of the heavy bowls, are strangely intermingled, 
and you come out stunned with noise and half blinded with tobacco 
smoke. Some of these men were settlers from Pembina and the Red 
River settlements. They come down to Traverse des Sioux with a 
long caravan of carts, horses, and oxen. These they leave here, and 
take steamer to St. Paul for a hundred miles down the St. Peter, and 
lay in their luxuries of civilization, and those necessaries of life 
which are unprocurable in their remote settlement. They were just 
starting for their return journey when we were at St. Paul, and did 
not expect to arrive at Pembina for a month or six weeks. * * * * 
The country through which they pass abounds in buffalo, but it is also 
infested with hostile Sioux, who have lately been particularly earnest 
in their quest for white scalps, and they are consequently compelled 
to raise a breastwork for protection at the camping-ground every 
night. In winter, the journey is made with dog teams and snow-shoes. 
The population upon "the Red river is made up of half-breeds, buffalo 
hunters, and Scotch farmers, besides a few Indian traders. 

Into this strange and composite life and humanity, these 
three men, bearing the message of peace and good will, en- 
tered. Surely there was need for their message, and abundant 
opportunity at their very doors for the preaching of right- 
eousness, and the gospel of an universal brotherhood in Jesus 

Changes were going rapidly forward in this new land. A 
commonwealth was coming to the birth. The transition from 
the wilderness to the cultivated farm and tidy home was tak- 
ing place. 

Fredrika Bremer, who, as the guest of Governor Ramsey 
in 3850, spent some time in St. Paul, thus graphically described 
the steps in this transition: 


The trees fall before the axe, a little log house is erected on the 
skirts of the forest and banks of the river; a woman stands in the 
door with a little chubby child in her arms. The husband has dug up 
the earth around the house, and planted maize; beyond, graze a couple 
of fat cows, and some sheep in the free, unenclosed meadowland. On 
the shelf is a Bible, a hymn book, and some other religious book. A 
little further off stands a somewhat larger log house, where a dozen 
or two of children— the half wild offspring of the wilderness— are as- 
sembled. This is the school. The room is poor, without furniture, but 
the walls are covered with maps of all parts of the globe. Anon other 
houses spring up, some of framed timber, some of stone; they become 
more and more ornamental; they surround themselves with fruit 
trees and flowers. You see a chapel of wood arising at the same time 
with the wooden houses; but when the stone house comes, then comes 
the stone church and the State House. The fields around are covered 
with harvests; flocks and herds increase. Motherly women institute 
Sunday Schools in the church, and assemble the little children to in- 
struct them in Christianity, and establish an asylum for orphaned lit- 
tle ones. 

The scene depicted herein is a true photograph of the 
evolving condition of a new State, and has been reproduced 
again and again in all our great, new West. It is the counter- 
balancing picture to that presented by the English traveller. 

Breck and his companions, upon their arrival, pitched a 
Sibley tent on the bluff near the corner of what is now Sum- 
mit avenue and St. Peter street, in which they lived until the 
completion of a small house, twelve by sixteen feet in size. 
The domestic duties of this little home were performed by 
some one or more of the party in turn. 

A youth, the present Rev. T. J. Holcombe, of New York, 
who was the original student of the Diocesan Theological 
Seminary, in a series of interesting reminiscences recently 
published, gave some vivid pen pictures of the experiences of 
these pioneer missionaries. He wrote: "From the first all 
domestic duties were looked after chiefly by Mr. Wilcoxson 
and myself. He did the cooking, and the washing fell to my 
lot, as I was the only experienced hand. I had learned the 
trade at Kashotah, having there served on the washing com- 
mittee, with other distinguished men, for the best part of a 



year. Dr. Breck occasionally assisted at the wash tub, but 
he could not iron a collar or shirt to save him." 

On the date of their arrival in St. Paul, the Rev. E. G. Gear, 
who was then the chaplain at Fort Snelling, was the only 
clergyman of the Episcopal Church in the Territory. Prior 
to their arrival he had held occasional services in the town. 
The Roman Catholics had some time before erected a small 
chapel dedicated to St. Paul; and Rev. Edward D. Neill (clarum 
et venerabile nomen) had also built a Presbyterian church on 
the corner of Third and St. Peter streets. The Methodists 
the year preceding had completed a small brick chapel on 
Market street, which is still standing. The Baptists had or- 
ganized, but had not completed a house of worship. 

Dr. Breck, with a wise far-sightedness, recognized the ad- 
vantages of St. Paul's location, and prophesied its future, and 
proceeded to secure property for his Church. By enlisting, 
through correspondence, the interest of a few friends in the 
East, he succeeded in procuring means for purchasing a site 
for the future, Christ Church, and also real estate as a founda- 
tion for general church work in the Territory. The first pur- 
chase for this purpose was two acres of land, which now form 
the easterly part of Park Place Addition to St. Paul. This 
was conveyed by Vetal Guerin and wife to James Lloyd Breck 
by deed dated July 2nd, 1850, for a consideration of $100. 
Very soon afterwards another purchase was made of Vetal 
Guerin of one acre adjoining the first purchase on the west, 
for a consideration of $50. . The following year the Rev. Dr. 
Gear purchased for $50, and gave to the mission, one acre 
next west of their former purchase. About the same time 
Dr. Breck secured from John R. Irvine, for $100, two acres 
next west of the above. These six acres were long known as 
the Episcopal Mission Grounds, but were later platted as 
Park Place Addition. Afterward Dr. Breck secured of Mr. 
Irvine a lot facing on Rice street and running back to the 
line of property already secured. 

You can see at once that there was thus secured a very 
valuable foundation in real estate Tor the Church, and this at 
almost a nominal price. For some time it was occupied solely 


by the Associate Mission; but afterward some of the ground 
was leased and a hotel erected thereon, known as the Park 
Place, which was destroyed by fire in 1874. Later the corpo- 
ration which held the property donated an ample tract in its 
center for a public park, on condition that the city would im- 
prove, preserve, and adorn it. I am sorry to say that this con- 
dition has not been satisfactorily fulfilled. In 1S80 heavy as- 
sessments, required by extensive street improvements, made 
it necessary to dispose of a portion of this land. With the 
money accruing from these sales a certain number of the re- 
maining lots were improved, by the erection of dwelling 

The income from this property is used for the support of 
the episcopate in the Diocese of Minnesota. In 1890 a net 
income of over $4,000 per year was realized, but the falling of 
rentals of late years has reduced this amount more than one- 
half. The property, as the most casual observer can see, is 
Tvell and pleasantly located, and will, in time, be of great value 
to the Episcopal Church in the state. 

It is a fine illustration of the wisdom of securing property 
in the earliest days of a city or village. This property, which 
in 1850 cost not more than $500, is now valued at $75,000. It 
has always been wisely administered by a board called the 
Minnesota Church Foundation, which has numbered among 
its members such men as Bishop Whipple, General Sibley, 
Col. D. A. Robertson, William Dawson, and Harvey Officer, of 
St. Paul; Judge Wilder, of Red Wing; and Judge Atwater 
and Henry T. Welles, of Minneapolis. 

To return to our pioneer missionaries and their life under 
the oaks of the future Park Place. We have already given 
one glimpse of that primitive household; let us glance again 
and note some other incidents of that earlier day. Mr. Hol- 
combe was the only student of that theological seminary, but 
the rules and regulations were the same as if there had been 
twenty. The household retired at ten o'clock and rose at five. 
As Mr. Holcombe humorously pats it: "The first roll call 
was made from the rogion of Dr. Breck'fl comer, and was 
answered readily, as wo each had a COt in the same Gothic 



roofed chamber, and so were within easy hearing distance. 
The second call was at six o'clock to morning prayer, a full 
service; then breakfast according to Wilcoxson, which, be- 
cause of his inexperience, was not always a success. The 
faculty met once a month, or as the exigencies of the occasion 
might require. As a hen scratches as diligently for one chick 
as for ten, so one student will sometimes try a faculty more 
than a full contingent." 

It was in these simple, yet potential duties, that those 
early missionaries labored. It was the day of the laying of 
foundations, and they were careful to lay them well; yet the 
demands of petty detail in no wise absorbed their attention 
or time to the exclusion of other and larger work. It is the 
mark of a truly great mind to strike a true balance between 
near and remote duties, to never allow the view of the hillock, 
at his own door, to obscure the higher and vaster mountain 
ranges beyond. 

These men had come to this new land to plant their Church, 
to spread the tidings of the gospel near and far, to minister 
to the few scattered over the prairies, and in the hamlets of 
the country round. Park Place and its little mission house was 
virtually a point of departure, as well as a haven of refuge 
and rest on the return. Here they planned their campaign, 
and here together they related their individual experiences on 
their missionary journeys, and took sweet counsel one with 

The Episcopal Church in Minnesota was born in that little 
Gothic structure, and from thence it has spread over the whole 
extent of the state. Like the early missionaries of the cross, 
they were without "purse or scrip," and lived with extreme 
abstemiousness and simplicity. The Mission was unable to 
keep a horse, much less to support one, consequently their 
journeys were all made on foot. Cheerfully and uncomplain- 
ingly they traversed in this way prairies and forest lands. 
Missions were established within the year at the Falls of St. 
Anthony, Stillwater, Willow River (new Hudson), Prairie La 
Crosse, Cottage Grove, Marine Mills, and Sauk Rapids. With 
two or three exceptions, these were the only settlements in 


the Territory. General Sibley and Henry M. Rice were living 
at Mendota, and there was a trading post at Traverse des 
Sioux on the Minnesota river, near the present site of St. Peter. 

Picture to yourselves these men of God, going on foot 
through a country, virtually a wilderness, to Sauk Rapids, 
seventy miles to the north, and to La Crosse, one hundred and 
twenty miles to the south. Neither summer's heat nor win- 
ter's cold and storms dismayed them. Duty called and they 
obeyed. Such a life was little understood by the men of that 
day, who had come to this new land simply to win a worldly 
future. Some at first scoffed, but soon silent admiration and 
respect prevailed. Men might not imitate such sublime devo- 
tion and self-sacrifice for spiritual things, but they could honor 
the high spirit which prompted it. A simple incident illus- 
trates the devout purpose of the head of the mission, and the 
consciousness of his responsibility to others. 

On his way to one of the stations he came to a stream. 
There was no bridge. It was already late in the season, and 
the chill of the autumnal air warned of the danger of fording 
the stream barefoot. A stage-coach, by chance, was passiug 
that way, and the driver, recognizing the clerical dress, kindly 
invited the traveller to ride. The passengers pressed him. 
To their surprise he declined the offer, and, removing his 
boots and stockings, he waded the stream and pursued his 
journey, reaching the village at the hour appointed for service. 
Few could understand this. But it was done as a rule of daily 
life, and an act of self-discipline, a relaxation of which would 
have tended to unfit him for his severe manner of life. 

These missionaries' journeys at times (to quote the language 
of our diocesan historian) lay through the wildest woods and 
over the bare rolling prairies, where the cabin of the settler 
appeared only at a distance of ten or fifteen miles. The mis- 
sionaries had all the experiences of a frontiersman in his foot 
marches, and in his coarse diet, and in the exposed sleeping 
apartments. The journeys on foot not infrequently extended 
into late hours in the night, and through parts whore all was 
solitary, save to the wild beast, which at any moment might be 
roused from his lair to the groat discomfiture of the traveller. 



The huge black bear and the wolverine were common to the 
forests of the St. Croix; and many a sharp and shrill cry of 
surprise arose from deep dell and towering tree on the ap- 
proach of human footsteps. At times the way was lost, and 
sometimes not found before the next morning. Two mission- 
aries passed, after this manner, a night in the open air, and 
were drenched before morning by the falling rain of a thunder 
storm. On another occasion a missionary, lost in the thickets, 
wandered about in fruitless search all the day, and at sun- 
setting emerged at the same place where he had entered early 
in the morning. 

Many were the experiences of so new a country. In the 
spring and summer, streams broa$ and deep must be waded, 
in the winter they could be crossed on the ice; but then the 
snow had filled up the trail, and the missionary, as a foot 
traveller, was subjected to continuous plunges, up to his waist, 
in the snow drifts, which he must contend with for twelve 
miles together, after his morning service, in order to meet his 
night appointment. Again the settler was not always mind- 
ful as he ought to be of the comfort of Christ's minister, who 
came to preach the word and break the Bread of Life, and he 
would be left to satisfy his hunger from the scant contents 
of his knapsack; and one occasion is recalled wherein he was 
left in the log schoolhouse to pass the night alone, and it was 
a cold one, and the hard oaken bench was his bed. But then 
the welcome home to the mission house on the bluff in St. Pan! 
made him forget that he had. been neglected. Had there been 
no brother to ring out the merry peal from the bell, from its 
natural turret in the oak tree, it would have been a cheerless 
return. But the fellow laborer and sufferer was there, the 
enthusiastic young Divinity student was there: and above all 
it was home, and within that home was sympathy, love, and 

Soon after their arrival and settlement on the Mission 
Grounds, they took steps to organize a parish and hold a 
church service in St. Paul. A meeting of citizens was called, 
a vestry organized, numbering, among its seven members, our 
own honored and respected townsman still with as, Hon. U. EL 


Nelson. Ground was secured, and in December, 1850, Christ 
Church was opened for Divine service. It was a modest edi- 
fice, measuring 20 by 40 feet, with a turret and chancel, and 
was situated on Cedar street between Third and Fourth streets. 
Many of our older citizens will recall it. Therein were bap- 
tized their children, and from it were carried their dead. Dr. 
Breck became its first rector, to be succeeded in 1S53 by his 
associate, Rev. Timothy Wilcoxson. Two prominent names of 
clergymen are associated with this Mother Parish of the Dio- 
cese of Minnesota, Rev. Dr. Van Ingen and Rev. Dr. McMas- 
ters. It has also had connected with its history some of the 
most honored and influential citizens of our city. Churches 
were erected also the following year in St. Anthony and in 

The first visit of Jackson Kemper, the missionary bishop 
of the Northwest, whose home was at Nashotah, in Wisconsin, 
is thus pleasantly and vividly described by one who knew 

At last the expected day dawned, and, ere its close, the venerable 
missionary bishop was welcomed by the ringing: of the mission bell, 
hung in the boughs of an aged oak. The distant whistle of the steamer 
had brought nearly the whole motley population to the levee. Anon 
the signal is given, a moment of stillness follows, the engines are re- 
versed, the boat rises and falls, there is a mingled confusion of clicking 
and splashing and hurrying, and she moves into her mooring under 
the burden of boxes and bales, the hawser is cast, the gang plank grates 
along the sand, and a man with the dress and mien betokening his 
commission is met by one whose tall form and priestly appearance dis- 
tinguish him amid the careless jostling crowd on the shore. Greetings 
follow and the bishop is escorted to the mission house, where due 
preparation awaits his expected arrival. Wednesday is the day noted 
in the diary of the bishop, a July day, when the days are at their bright- 
est, ere the foliage has been blighted by heated winds over acres of 
upturned loam. 

There was then but a bridle path, or the wheels of an occasional 
cart had merely worn away the turf, where now four streams of com- 
merce are parted. A year and upwards had passed. The well kepi gar- 
den, the enclosure, the walks, and the grassy lawn, wore silent wit- 
nesses of the care of busy hands. Each gable seemed expectant of Borne 
distinguished visitant. The diamond-shaped window a w < re transpA 
as was meet for such an occasion, The cot in each corner of the 



attic, the floors, the snow-white linen, the utensils in the kitchen, all 
bespoke the faultless housekeeping of the brothers. Morning prayer 
had been said, the litany hour had already passed. The day was now 
drawing to its close. In the little schoolroom the weary lad had 
yawned for the last time over the blurred sentence. Evening prayer 
was said; the bishop gave his absolution to the kneeling household, 
after the evening bell, the Angelus of the neighborhood; and each 

At the "sweet hour of praise" the Holy Eucharist was consecrated; 
It was Thursday, the day then and long afterwards observed by an 
early weekly communion. Later came, at the "third hour," morning 
prayer; then each member of the household went forth to his duty; 
and as the shadows lengthened the evening prayer shut the day. Thus 
four days passed with their changing seasons of duty and devotion. 
The twentieth of July was Sunday, the ideal Sunday of George Herbert, 
a day full of interest to the church fold in the consecration of their 
first house of prayer, named after the Master, Christ Church. 

This is almost an idyllic picture, but it is a faithful por-% 
traiture of the simple sanctity of the life at the Mission, and 
of the experiences of a pioneer bishop. 

The Associate Mission continued until 1852, when it was 
dissolved. The work entered upon another stage. Parochial 
clergy began to arrive. The work of the embryo theological 
school was merged into that of the older institution at Xasho- 
tah, and the members of the mission entered upon other work. 
Rev. J. A. Merrick, for reasons of health, sought a milder 
climate; and Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson, as above stated, became the 
rector of Christ Church. Breck, the leading spirit and head, 
with that ever venturesome and apostolic spirit, which was 
his marked characteristic, turned his face northward, pene- 
trated the wilderness two hundred miles, and began, at Gull 
lake, a mission among the Ojibways. 

It falls not within the scope of this paper to follow in detail 
the careers of these courageous souls. We may note, how- 
ever, that the Rev. Mr. Wilcoxson, after two years 1 successful 
charge of Christ Church, resigning his care, threw himself 
with ardor into the more congenial work of the Itinerant mis- 
sionary, and for years gave himself unreservedly to it. during 
which time he was the rector of si. Luke's Church, Bashings; 
until at last, broken in health by the hardship ami exposures, 


he retired to his native state of Connecticut, where he entered 
into the rest of Paradise in 1884. His widow, full of years, 
loved and honored by all who are privileged to know her, 
abides with us still, and tells, with never nagging interest to 
listeners, the fascinating story of these early pioneer times, 
when "all the world was young." 

The story of the experiences of James Lloyd Breck, after 
leaving St. Paul, is full of romance and pathos, of devoted 
labors and never waning zeal, of high purpose and wise foun- 
dation laying, which have made his name the synonym of the 
ideal missionary to the whole American Church. 

Building by the shining water of Gull lake a little chapel, 
which he called St. Columba, after .the pioneer missionary of 
Scotland and northern Britain, he gathered around him a band 
of Christian Indians, who looked up to him as a father and a 
^heavenly guide. Soon turning this work over to other hands, 
his restless energy carried him still farther into the northern 
wilderness, and again he became the founder and head of a 
mission among the Ojibways on Leech lake. Great success 
attended him. The little church was filled with worshippers, 
children of the forest gathered in his school, the seed was 
planted, it was taking root and promising a bountiful return, 
when disaster fell upon him and the mission. 

Crazed by the "fire water/' which in those lawless days 
the white man dealt out unstintingly to the Indian, the 
heathen Indians, of the Pillager band, drove this man of peace 
and of God away from their midst, destroyed the mission 
buildings, and fri^itened into silence and seclusion the few- 
faithful natives who had declared themselves Christians. It 
was not until seventeen years afterward that this work was 
revived, when it was found that many had retained their faith, 
and ever prayed for the return of the messenger of the Prince 
of Peace. 

Undismayed, recognizing in this trying dispensation the 
leading of God's hands into other fields of work, he went 
southward to Faribault. Here he laid the foundation of the 
noble educational work upon which Bishop Whipple lias BO 
wisely and successfully builded. 



After nine years of remarkable work, the voice of God 
seemed once more to call him to again lay foundations. Leav- 
ing Faribault, he crossed the continent in 1SG7, and at Benicia 
in California, at the head of another Associate Mission, mod- 
elled after the one with which he began in St. Paul in 1850, 
he laid the foundations of a college and theological seminary. 
Here on the outermost border of his native land, by the 
shores of the great western sea, worn out by cares and labors, 
he passed into a well won rest in the bosom of God. 

Last October, I stood underneath the oaks, and by the 
crystal lakes of sylvan Nashotah, and with bowed head, wit- 
nessed the reinterment of all that was mortal of this saint and 
confessor of the nineteenth century, this apostolic missionary, 
this true soldier of the cross, James Lloyd Breck. The story 
of his life is forever inwrought, not only into the history of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Northwest, but into 
the history of its civic life as well, for he was always the 
harbinger of civilization and the promoter of its truest weal. 

I have thought it best to give in outline the story of this 
unique life as a small contribution to the history of this State, 
which, through this noble society, is striving to enshrine and 
perpetuate the lives of its heroes and founders. 

I have endeavored to bring before you the beginnings of 
the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, with the setting in which 
these beginnings were framed, and with some of the figures 
standing out more prominently in that picture. 

Up to the year 1850 the Church had never before entered 
a Territory so young and so completely a wilderness as was 
this, in the literal sense of the word. There were only three 
villages throughout an area greater than New York and all 
New England. The number of communicants was fifteen, of 
whom six belonged in St. Paul. Only a narrow strip of land, 
eighteen miles wide and one hundred and fifty in length, had 
yet been ceded by the red man to the United States. The 
missionaries, when they pitched their tents on the high Muffs 
of St. Paul, could look beyond the Mississippi river ami Bee the 
aborigines in their wigwams ami wild attire. The country 
was a fairy land, but nature could tell of dark deeds of \ io- 


lence, and as late as 1850 Stillwater witnessed a scalp dance. 
There was wisdom in entering the land thus early. The Epis- 
copal Church has reaped the benefits of this policy, in the 
after history of the Diocese of Minnesota. The church is 
relatively stronger here than in any of the other states in the 
whole Mississippi valley. While she has not become, by any 
means, the largest in numbers of any of the Christian bodies, 
owing largely to a population naturally unsympathetic with 
her methods of worship, yet I think I may confidently affirm 
that she has won a first place in the respect and confidence of 
the people of the state. The men who laid her foundations 
were men of large heart, catholic spirit, and far reaching vision. 
The intense earnestness and sincerity of these men left upon 
the population, who believed in reality and not in shams or 
show, a lasting and honorable impression. For nearly half a 
century she has stood for the Vincentian formula, "In essen- 
tials unity, in unessentials liberty, in all things charity." 

But it is not my province to-night to laud the Episcopal 
Church. Its history is not concealed. It speaks for itself. 
It has been my simple privilege to be a "relator temporis acti." 
The providence of God watched over the work of its early 
founders, and will, I trust, still continue its beneficent mission. 
We are refreshed by quaffing the sparkling water in the clear 
fountain at the source of the stream. May I venture to hope 
that in a measure at least we have been so refreshed to-night. 



Ladies and Gentlemen: I have always supposed that the 
legitimate province of a historical society is to record and 
preserve past and current history; and, so believing, I feel as 
if I were perpetrating a wrong in offering to you this evening 
the collection of anecdotes, jokes, and frivolous sayings and 
doings that I have strung together in this paper. My only ex- 
cuse is, that it was not originally prepared for this dignified 
body, but for the amusement of a much lighter audience, and 
that it does contain some matters relating to our early days, 
although of a character that can hardly be brought under 
the designation of history. I never made any pretense to be- 
ing a historian; but much is expected of a western man, and 
he is never justified in declining to do anything that the emer- 
gencies of the situation demand of him. To give you an illus- 
tration of what appalling straits he is sometimes driven to: 
Once, in the very early dawn of civilization on our frontier, I 
had the hardihood to get up a thanksgiving celebration, the 
principal part of the programme being a sermon from a neigh- 
boring missionary. For some reason, he failed to put in an 
appearance, and I was compelled to do the preaching my sol f. 
As my audience was easily imposed upon in the article of 
sermons, I succeeded quite creditably. 


I thought at first of chatting about the early days of St. 
Paul, and relating some of the many anecdotes which exist 
about our pioneer residents; but, on reflection, recalling what 

•Read before the Society, April 2.". 1888. 


my old friend, Joe Rolette, once said, "If these old settlers ever 
collide with me, I'll write a book," I deemed it delicate ground 
to tread upon, although extremely fertile in fun and amusing 
incidents, as we had a most curious agglomeration of interest- 
ing characters here in the early times. I may, however, men- 
tion some without treading on any one's toes. 

There was a Scotch gentleman here, whom I knew very 
well, who seemed to have plenty of means to gratify all his 
whims. He had the reputation of having once been a minister 
of the gospel, — what he was doing here no one seemed to 
know definitely, — and, as was usual in those days, no one 
cared very much. After living here some time he conceived 
the idea of going over to the Pacific country by way of British 
Columbia; his objective point may have been the Fraser river 
gold diggings, but I forget. He fitted out a party, and when 
in the wilds of the north country he became frozen in and was 
compelled to spend a long winter in camp; provisions soon 
gave out and the party were compelled to eat their pack 
animals for support. My friend selected a fat young mule for 
his especial eating, and allowed no one to share it with him. 
In the course of the winter he consumed the whole animal. 
He preserved one of its dainty hoofs, and when he got back 
to civilization he had it beautifully polished and a silver shoe 
put on it, and always at his meals he placed it by the side of 
his plate. People thought it was a salt cellar, or some article 
of table furniture, but when asked by some one what part it 
played in his menu, he would relate his adventure and say, 
that he had eaten so many awfully bad dinners out of that 
mule that he always kept its hoof near by to remind him of 
them so that his present dinners might be improved by con- 

He was very fond of sherry, and could not get just what 
he wanted here, so he sent to London and imported an im- 
mense hogshead of the best he could purchase. He decanted 
it into large demijohns, and placed them all around his room. 
He then wont to bed and never left it until we carried billl out 
feet foremost. 1 did my best to avert tins calamity, but my 
powers of absorption were too limited to get away with the 
sherry in time. 

The original population of all this country was of COOTM 
the Indians. The next people to arrive were the whites, who 



were either traders or soldiers, and in referring to the inhab- 
itants they were always designated either as white men or 
Indians. ' At quite an early period an officer of the army from 
the South was stationed at Mackinac, or some other north- 
western post, and brought with him two black servants, 
George and Jack Bonga. When he was ordered away, these 
two men remained behind and took service in the- American 
Fur Company as voyageurs. They married into the Chippewa 
tribe, and George became quite a prominent trader and a man 
of wealth and consequence. I was his guest for two weeks 
at Leech lake just forty-two years ago, when I made a canoe 
voyage to the source of the Mississippi. He was a thorough 
gentleman in both feeling and .deportment, and was very 
anxious to contribute to my pleasure during my stay with 
him. He loved to dwell upon the grandeur of the chief factors 
of the old Fur Company, and, to show me how royally they 
travelled, he got up an excursion on the lake, in a splendid 
birch bark canoe, manned by twelve men who paddled to the 
music of a French Canadian boat song, led by himself. George 
was very popular with the whites, and loved to relate to the 
newcomers his adventures. He was about the blackest man 
I ever saw, so black that his skin fairly glistened, but was, 
excepting his brother Jack, the only black person in the coun- 
try. Never having heard of any distinction between the peo- 
ple but that of Indians and white men, he would frequently 
paralyze his hearers when reminiscing by saying, "Gentlemen, 
I assure you that John Banfil and myself were the first two 
white men that ever came into this country. " 


I am rather inclined to think that in the early days we had 
a good deal more fun than we do now, but perhaps our pleas- 
ures were not curbed with (he same bit as they are at present. 
The early settlers brought out with them the eld fashioned 
way of celebrating New Year's day, and when that event oc- 
curred, the whole town was alive with sport. Everybody 
kept open house and expected everybody else tO ('all ami see 
them. No vehicle that could carry a party was allowed to 
remain idle, and from morning until late in the night the entire 
male population was on the move. The principal houses were 
those of the Kamseys, the Ciormans, the Borups, the Oakeses, 


the Warrens, the Coxes, the Robertsons, and the Rices. The 
Reverend Dr. Andrew Bell Paterson, rector of St. Paul's 
Church, lived out where Hamm's brewery now stands. Mrs. 
Goodhue, widow of Minnesota's first editor, lived on the west 
side, about opposite the foot of Jackson street, and there were 
many others well worthy of mention who now escape me. We 
also had Fort Snelling, with its Old School Army' officers, 
famous for their courtesy and hospitality, and the delightful 
household of Franklin Steele, the sutler; and there was Henry 
H. Sibley, at Mendota, to whom the finest amenities of life 
were a creed: all of whom assisted on New Year's day. There 
was great strife among the entertainers as to who should have 
the most elaborate spread, and the most brilliant and attract- 
ive array of young ladies to greet the guests. A register of 
the callers was always kept, and great was the victory of the 
hostess w T ho recorded the greatest number. 

My first New Year's day in St. Paul was in January, 1S54, 
forty-four years ago; it was my entre'e to St. Paul society. 
Four of us, all young frisky fellows, started out together with 
a good team and made one hundred and fifty calls by mid- 
night. The party was composed of Mr. Henry L. Moss, Horace 
R. Bigelow, who was my old partner, Mr. Charles H. Mix, 
and myself. Whether we drank at every fountain that gushed 
for us on that day, I will leave to the imagination, after say- 
ing that only the most delightful impressions of the event 
linger in my memory. The custom died out only a dozen 
years ago. 

While speaking of New Year's day, I must not forget my 
first New Years day among the Indians. It was in 1857. The 
Sioux know the day and celebrate it. How they discovered 
it I am unable to say, but probably they learned it from the 
French missionaries. They call it "Kissing day." I was the 
United States Agent for the Sioux, and was detained up at 
the Yellow Medicine river for some reason, I forget what. I 
was informed that it would be expected of me to give all the 
women who happened to be about the Agency a present So 
I had several barrels of gingerbread baked, and purchased 
many bolts of calico, which I had cut up into dress pie< es, 
ready for delivery. About ten in the forenoon the squaws be- 
gan to assemble near the Agency, and 1 seated myself in 
the main room to await events. At tirst they were Sh) il was 

: V 



not the grizzly old fellow then that I am now). Soon an old 
wa-kon-ka came sidling up like a crab, and gave me a kiss; 
then came another, and another, until, young and old, I had 
kissed and been kissed by forty-eight squaws. I kept an ex- 
act tally, especially of the young and pretty ones. They all 
got their gingerbread and dresses, and went away very happy ; 
whether their joy rested wholly on the cakes and calico, I 
never was exactly satisfied in my own mind. So you see the 
civilized and the savage do not differ very much in their meth- 
ods of amusing themselves. It is a serious question whether 
modern innovations will be an improvement over the past in 
such matters. 


St. Paul from its earliest settlement was a social phenom- 
enon. Our ideas of a frontier Mississippi river town of forty 
years ago, naturally suggest everything but culture, refine- 
ment and elegance; yet St. Paul possessed them all in a very 
marked degree. By a singularly happy combination of cir- 
cumstances, differing absolutely from all other remote 
frontier towns that I know of, the earliest settlers, who gave 
the place its social tone and character, were cultivated gentle- 
men and ladies. Dr. Borup was a Dane; he was a fine musi- 
cian; he had a charming family; he erected a spacious and, 
for that day, elegant mansion, and entertained profusely. I 
have attended musical soirees at his house, led by himself 
with the violin, accompanied by two grand pianos played by 
members of his family. 

Mr. William Sitgreaves Cox, an old navy ofticer, was a 
charming gentleman, at the head of one of the most interest- 
ing, cultivated and refined families it was ever my good fortune 
to become acquainted with. One of his daughters. Miss Hitty, 
was so accomplished a musician, that it was said she never 
played anything but music of her own composition. Another 
daughter, Mrs. Pope, who presided in his household, used to 
entertain the friends of the family at grand dinners and petit* 
soupcrs, that would have made the habitats of Washington 
and Newport green with envy, 

Mr. John E. Warren, and his brilliant and beautiful wife, 

maintained an establishment, to enjoy the privileges of which 

was a liberal education, and a joy forever. The mere reeol 


lection of her fascinating conversation aod sparkling wit is 
enough to make an old fellow young again. Governor Ram- 
• sey, and his hospitable and beautiful wife, were always a cen- 
ter of social eminence, as were also Col. Robertson, Judge 
Emmett, and their accomplished wives. I merely mention 
these names as types of a great many delightful families that 
adorned our city in its infancy, and impressed upon- it the in- 
delible stamp of cosmopolitan excellence. 

Besides these superior domestic nuclei, we had a host of 
single gentlemen, young and old, who would have adorned the 
society of any city. Of course we were not lacking in the 
rough and vicious element, but it never dominated to the ex- 
tent of giving color to our society. . 

There is one circumstance which has always impressed me 
with the idea that Minnesota, and especially St. Paul, the 
capital, was favored with an exceptionally intelligent popu- 
lation in its infancy; and that is, that at the very first session 
of the Territorial Legislature, in 1849, provision was made for 
the establishment of a Historical Society, an institution which 
one would think would be most remote from the thoughts of 
a border people, whose interests usually center in peltries, 
ores, and lumber. Yet it was accomplished, and has grown 
from the germ then planted into a repository of historical 
knowledge scarcely equalled west of the Alleghanies, which 
is stored away in a library of nearly sixty thousand volumes. 

Most western towns spring into life from the force of 
especial circumstances, a rich deposit of gold, silver, or coal, 
is discovered; extensive forests invite the lumbermen; at 
once a rush of people is directed to the spot, and a town is 
built. It has no antecedents to give direction to its social, 
moral or intellectual character, and these elements must re- 
flect the attributes of its first inhabitants. Mining towns gen- 
erally exhibit the lowest and roughest features; gambling, 
drinking, and lawlessness predominate. Lumber towns rare- 
ly present much refinement. While men engaged in that pur- 
suit may be estimable and industrious citizens, you would 
not, except in rare Instances, Belecl them to till the chair of 
esthetics in a school of sociology. 

The marked difference in favor of St. Paul, in my judgment, 
arises from the fact that it had antecedents; that its Aral pep 


illation was not assembled at the call of any particular enter- 
prise, and was therefore not tagged with any special trade- 
mark. It converged to this point largely for the reason that 
it was the head of navigation of the great Mississippi, thus 
offering a reasonable prospect of a commercial city; that it 
had an exceptionably salubrious climate; and that its first 
and principal settlers had previously occupied the- country 
and had been educated under the elevating social influences 
of the great fur companies, whose officers were the most aris- 
tocratic and commanding men to be found in any country. 
They were most exacting in their demands of obedience, re- 
spect, and loyalty from all their subordinates; and they ad- 
ministered justice in return, based on a broad intelligence and 
tempered with generosity. Such initial influences could not 
fail to make themselves felt as the town progressed toward 
metropolitan proportions, and they are still visible. This 
view of mine may be without substantial foundation, but there 
is one thing I know, that St. Paul possesses certain social 
attractions which invariably impel people who have to leave 
the place with a desire to return, no matter where they go. I 
never knew an officer of the army, who had been stationed 
here, that did not want to remain, and, if compelled to leave, 
did not wish to return, and such seems to be the universal 
sentiment. You think it over, and if you discover a better 
reason for the social superiority of St. Paul over the average 
western town, let me know what it is. 

While I am speaking of the remarkable culture and refine- 
ment of 'St. Paul in its early days, I ought to mention that we 
had a number of gentlemen here who were extraordinary chess 
players and very early formed a chess club. Judge Palmer 
was at the head of it. He was a second Paul Morphy in skill 
at the game. He could turn his back, shut his eyes, and play 
three or four games at the same time without seeing either 
the board or the men, and generally win them, Von must 
remember that chess is a very scientific game, and is not in- 
dulged in by cowboys or frontiersmen as a general thing. 

Very soon after St. Paul began to assume city proportions, 
a little town down the river by the name of Hastings began 

to appear in evidence. I don't believe many of you know 
the origin of its name. It was called after General Hmry 


Hastings Sibley, and the fact that he was its chief sponsor 
did much to attract to it some very cultivated people, includ- 
ing some good chess players, among whom a Maryland gentle- 
man named Allison was the leader. As soon as acquaintance- 
ship was established between the two towns, a chess club was 
formed in Hastings, and games used to be played between the 
two places by mail, each move being fully discussed by the 
club making it, over a good champagne supper. These games 
sometimes lasted a whole winter, as mails were only semi- 
occasional. It is a rare thing to find towns situate on the 
very border of civilization, amusing themselves in such an 
esthetic manner. 


It may not be inappropriate on this occasion to refer to 
the early struggles of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. As 
has ever been the case in the Northwest, the French Catholic 
missionaries were first in the field. They labored with the 
Indians for long years with their accustomed fidelity and self- 
sacrifice, and I have no doubt did as much good as missionaries 
usually accomplish among savages. From their somber cos- 
tume the Sioux called them she-na-sapa (the black blankets). 

About sixty years ago, the American Board of Foreign 
Missions sent out Protestant missionaries of the Presbyterian 
faith, who selected stations at Traverse des Sioux, Lac qui 
Parle, Lake Winnibigoshish, and perhaps other points. They 
labored faithfully among the Sioux and Chippewas until the 
outbreak of the Sioux in 1SG2, which practically dispersed the 
Sioux and Winnebagoes and drove them out of the state. 
When the whites began to inhabit the state in 1S4G. and after- 
ward, of course they were accompanied by their ministers of 
all denominations, and they established churches in all the 
settlements; but the Episcopalians were the weakest of them 
all. The first churches of that denomination were established 
in St. Paul and St. Anthony in the early fifties. The one in 
St. Paul was known as Christ Church, and had a very small 
frame structure on Cedar Street, exactly in the rear of the 
present Globe Building, and on the spot where now stands the 
rear part of II. M. Smyth's printing house. The church boast 



ed a steeple, but it was so ridiculously small that the irrever- 
ent dubbed the whole structure "The church of the holy tooth- 

Minnesota was then part of the diocese of Wisconsin, which 
was presided over by Bishop Kemper, the missionary bishop 
of the Northwest, and one of the dearest and best old men 
it was ever my good fortune to meet. He used to make occa- 
sional visits into Minnesota, and perform the functions of his 
sacred office wherever they were needed. His services were 
usually held in the shanty of some settler, and the people 
would flock to see and hear him very much as they would have 
attended any unusual show. You must remember that Epis- 
copalians were not an emigrating people, and are generally 
the denizens of cities, so that his vestments were a very un- 
usual sight on the border. 

The first time I heard him he preached in the unfinished 
kitchen of Captain Dodd's shack in St Peter, and his audience 
was squatted on the floor. I remember distinctly having put 
on my Sunday moccasins, all ornamented with bead and quill 
work, for the important occasion. 

The real pioneers of the missionary work of the Episcopal 
church in Minnesota were Rev. James Lloyd Breck and Rev. 
Timothy Wilcoxson. They preceded all the others. Mr. 
Breck purchased five or six acres of land at the head of St 
Peter street and established a mission house, which was oc- 
cupied for a long time. The Park Place Hotel afterward 
stood on this ground, and I believe the land still belongs to" 
the Diocese of Minnesota, 

Mr. Breck was a very enthusiastic man in his church work. 
He was young and physically capable of much endurance. . It 
was a common thing for him to have an engagement to preach 
in a certain place on one day, and in another thirty or forty 
miles distant on the next, and he always made the journeys 
on foot His pedestrian feats became well known among the 
old settlers. The first time I made a visit to the Bast, after 
my settlement up in the valley of the Minnesota, was in 1856 
or 1857. I was driving across the twenty-mile prairie just 
above Fort Snelling on my way down the river, when I saw 
in the distance a long-legged apparition streaking it along in 
my direction, swinging a handbag and making Apparently about 


eight miles an hour. In the loom of the prairie it resembled 
very much a large sandhill crane, which we used to encounter 
frequently on our journeys in those days, but when we met it 
turned out to be the Reverend Mr. Breck on his way to Shako- 
pee to preach the next day. We always stopped and had a 
chat with all passers-by on the road. Knowing the habits of 
the parson as well as I did, I of course thought nothing of it. 

When I got home in the East, I was invited to attend a 
missionary meeting in Utica by a clerical friend of mine, who 
wanted me to tell the people there something about the church 
in the Northwest. I went, and the first business that came 
before the meeting was a collection to raise a fund to purchase 
a horse and buggy for Mr. Breck. The mover of the scheme 
spoke of his wonderful feats of pedestrianism, and insisted 
that he should be rewarded by being presented with better 
means of transportation. That was my opportunity: I told 
my story of how I had met him within a few days on the lonely 
prairie, which I extended from twenty miles to about a hun- 
dred and twenty, and how footing it across a continent was 
a mere pleasant recreation for him; in fact I allowed my then 
fruitful imagination full swing, with the satisfactory result 
of swelling the donation to a sum that would have easily 
bought him a coach and four, and I have never repented the 
well intended exaggeration. Mr. Breck never went on foot 

The estimation in which the memory of Mr. Breck is held 
at the present time in the church, may be measured by the 
fact that there prevailed a fierce controversy as to whether 
California or Wisconsin, where he was earlier a pioneer mis- 
sionary, should be the repository of his remains. 

Doctor Van Ingen and Dr. Paterson arrived in the fifties; 
the former came first, and the latter about 1857. About this 
time the question was mooted of erecting Minnesota into a 
separate diocese, and it was accomplished. Then t ame the ex- 
citing consideration of who should be the bishop. Naturally 
Doctors Van Ingen and Paterson were the prominent candi- 
dates. The convention was held in St. Paul in 1850, and after 
many Ineffectual ballots had been taken it seemed Impossible 

to elect either of these two gentlemen. At every ballot a \ote 
was cast for Henry B. Whipple of Chicago. No one knew 



who he was, except that he was the rector of a church in that 
city. When it became a certainty that the vote could not be 
concentrated on either Van Ingen or Paterson, the friends of 
these candidates began to inquire about the "dark horse," 
and the glowing account of him given by his friend settled 
the matter in his favor and he was chosen. 

I have known Bishop "Whipple for forty-five p years. I 
knew him in Rome, New York, before he went to Chicago, and 
have loved and revered him during all those long years. It 
would be a waste of words for me to attempt a portrayal of 
his many virtues and perfect equipment for the duties of a 
frontier bishop; in all such accomplishments he was unsur- 
passed. He assumed his office, and the church began to grow 
and expand with marvelous strides until it has filled the land. 
He has spread the fame of Minnesota over the mother coun- 
try of England, until his name, and that of his state, have 
become household words in the churches of that land. I have 
no hesitation in saying that to-day he is the most popular 
and best beloved man in all the state of Minnesota. 

I can tell you an amusing anecdote about him that proves 
my assertion. Many years ago there lived in the town of Le 
Sueur a man, a great friend of mine, by the name of Bill Smith. 
Bill was an uncompromising Democrat like myself, and had the 
reputation of being a pretty blunt and rough sort of a fellow; 
at the same time he was one of the best citizens in the Min- 
nesota valley. He lived next door to a brick edifice used as 
a church by the Presbyterians, with only a picket fence be- 
tween them. The people attending the church were in the 
habit of hitching their horses to his fence, and during services 
the horses would nibble the heads off of his pickets. Bill 
gave strict orders to his son to cut the halters of any teams 
that should be hitched to the fence. Bishop Whipple had 
some work in the town, and the Presbyterians kindly allowed 
him to use their church. Not knowing of the decree that 
had been promulgated by the infuriated Smith, the driver 
hitched the Bishop's team to the prohibited fence. The boy 
came in and said, "Dad, some of them church follows have 
hitched to our fence." "Go and cut their bri«n«>s." said Smith. 

''It's Bishop Whipple's team/' said (ho boy. *Oh, M said Smith, 
"that's another matter, Bishop Whipple is \ho onlv man in 


this state who can hitch his team to my fence, and if he 
wants to he can stable them in my parlor." 

The Bishop is peculiarly happy in attaching all kinds of 
people to him, good and bad, high and low. I remember when 
the Indian War broke out, in 1862, I brought out of New Ulm 
about eighty badly wounded men, and distributed them be- 
tween Mankato and St. Peter, turning all the hotels and public 
buildings into hospitals for their convenience. A few days 
after their arrival, the bishop appeared at St. Peter unsolicit- 
ed. He brought with him his dressing gown and slippers, 
and a case of surgical instruments, and camped down among 
us, where he remained for weeks, assisting the wounded and 
praying with the dying. That is the kind of work that endears 
a man to the people. 

You .all know that the Bishop has always been a great 
friend of the Indians. He believes that the Christian Indians, 
as he calls those who have shown some signs of recognition of 
the faith, performed a great many friendly acts towards the 
whites at the time of the massacre of 1862, and he loves to 
tell of it. When we all went up to dedicate the Birch Coulie 
Monument, Governor Marshall made a speech to prove that 
the inscription on the monument was all wrong. Then I fol- 
lowed, and, for complimenting the men who held the Indians 
off at the Birch Coulie fight, I dwelt on the splendid fighting 
qualities of the Sioux. Then the Bishop gave me a nudge and 
said, "I would give ten dollars for a five-minute talk." I told 
the presiding officer to call upon him, and he exhausted his 
time by saying all the good things he knew about the Indians. 
Then an irate party who came to hear the Indians denounced 
as murderers, red devils, and everything that was bad, rose and 
said, "We came here to dedicate a monument that commem- 
orates one of the most barbarous and savage massacres of our 
people that was ever perpetrated, and what have we had? an 
attack upon the monument, and two glowing eulogies of the 
savage murderers." The bishop and I had a good laugh over 
the predicament we had got the ceremonies into. 

Speaking of the church: Shortly after Dr. Van Ingen 
came to St. Paul, I came down, in 1856, to the legislature 
a representative from the Indian country. One of the fust 
things we had to do was to elect a chaplain. 1 was not a< 


quainted with any of he candidates, and Dr. Van Ingen was 
nominated. His name was pronounced nearly like "Indian," 
by the member who made the nomination. I had on mocca- 
sins, and on hearing the name, I said, "Ingen, Ingen, that's 
my man," and we elected him. A very prominent young 
lawyer in St. Paul is named for him, John Van Ingen Dodd, 
whose mother was a prominent church woman. 


I have not said anything about the politics of the early 
days of Minnesota, and the reason is that there was very 
little going on that was worthy of the name until the first 
state election, which occurred on the 13th day of October, 
1857. Prior to that, politics was 'either personal, Indian, or 

The first attempt at politics in Minnesota occurred in Wis- 
consin, if I may use a paradox. That state was admitted into 
the Union in 1848, leaving all the territory west of the St. 
Croix without any government. Our people called a con- 
vention at Stillwater, and settled the affairs of the prospective 
new territory to be created out of the discarded part of Wis- 
consin. They assigned the capitol to St. Paul, the university 
to St. Anthony, the penitentiary to Stillwater, and the dele- 
gate in Congress to Mendota, then called St. Peter's. Henry 
H. Sibley was duly chosen delegate from Wisconsin, and the 
act organizing the territory of Minnesota was passed by Con- 
gress on the 3rd of March, 1849. 

4 Nothing occurred in the politics of the territory particular- 
ly worthy of mention in a paper like this, except, perhaps, 
that the legislature once, in a spasm of frontier virtue, passed 
a prohibitory liquor law, which was in a counter spasm speed- 
ily declared unconstitutional by the courts; but when the first 
state election was held, in which we were to elect members 
of Congress and a legislature that was to choose United States 
senators, things took a more national aspect, and politics 
really began. The Democrats had always been in power in 
the territory, and of course desired to held that dominant 
position; but the Republican party, having been born three 
years before, had grown to considerable proportions. The 
whole state organization was to be elected, from the gOTemor 
down; so the fight became quite Interesting, 



v With this introduction, I will relate an episode which oc- 
curred a week or so after the first state election closed. You 
must know that Pembina had, from the earliest days of the 
territory, been an election district, and being so remote from 
the seat of government, the election there was held before the 
time fixed in other parts of the Territory to enable it to get 
its election returns to the Territorial Auditor in St. Paul. 
This circumstance gave rise to the saying that Pembina al- 
ways waited, in making its returns, to find out how many 
votes were necessary to carry the election for the Democrats, 
and then sent in the needed number. Of course, this was a 
Republican slander, but it was generally believed, as Pembina 
was then a terra incognita to everybody but Joe Rolette, Nor- 
man W. Kittson, and a few others who had Indian interests 
in that region. When all the votes but those of Pembina 
were in, it looked as if the result of the election was quite 
close, and all eyes were on Pembina. It was supposed that 
Joe Rolette would be the bearer of the returns, and great in- 
terest was manifested by the Democrats lest Rolette should 
fall by the wayside and the returns be lost, as we all knew 
that Joe was very susceptible to the allurements and tempta- 
tions of civilization when within its influence. 

While this important matter was in suspense, a man in 
the Indian trade by the name of Madison Sweetser came to me 
about two o'clock one night, or* rather morning, and told me 
that Nat Tyson, who was a merchant in St. Paul and an en- 
thusiastic Republican, had just started for the north with a 
fast team and an outfit that looked as if he contemplated a 
long journey; and his belief was that he meant to capture 
Rolette and the Pembina returns. I felt that such might be 
the case, and we immediately began to devise ways and meant! 
to circumvent him. We hastened to the house of Henry M. 
Rice, who knew every trader and half-breed between here and 
Pembina, and laid our suspicions "before him. He diagnosed 
the case in an instant, and sent us to Norman W. Kittson, 
who lived in a stone house well up on Jackson street, with in- 
structions to him to send a mounted courier alter Tyson, who 
was to pass him on the road and either 11 ml Rolette or Major 
Olitherall, who was an Alabama man and one ol the United 


States land officers in the neighborhood of Crow Wing, being, 
of course, a reliable Democrat, and was to deliver a letter to the 
one he first found, putting him on guard against the supposed 
enemy. I prepared the letter and Kittson in a few moments 
had summoned a reliable Chippewa half-breed, mounted him 
on a fine horse, fully explained his mission, and impressed 
upon him that he was to reach Clitherall or Rolette ahead of 
Tyson if he had to kill a dozen horses in so doing. There was 
nothing a fine, active, young half-breed enjoyed so much as 
an adventure of this kind; a ride of four hundred miles had 
no terrors for him, and to serve his employer faithfully, no 
matter what the duty or danger imposed, was his delight. 
When he was ready to start, Kittson gave him a send-off in 
about the following words: "Ya, va vite, et nc farrete pas 
meme pour sauver la vie" (Go, go quick, and don't stop even to 
save your life); and, giving his horse a vigorous slap, he was 
off like the wind. 

The result was that he passed Tyson before he had gone 
twenty miles, found Clitherall a day and a half before Tyson 
reached Crow Wing, if he ever did get there, and delivered 
his letter. The major immediately started to find Rolette, 
which he succeeded in doing, took the returns, put them in 
a belt around his person, and, having relieved Joe of all his 
responsibility, left him to his own devices, which meant paint- 
ing all the towns red that he visited on his way. 

The tone of the letter was so urgent and exciting that the 
major did not know but that half the Republicans in St. Paul 
might be lying in wait to capture him; so he did not enter 
town directly on his arrival, but went to Fort Snelling, left 
the returns with an army officer, and then proceeded to St. 
Paul. When we explained to him that no one but Rice, 
Sweetser, Kittson, and myself, knew anything about the mat- 
ter, he was relieved, but still cautious. He waited a tew days 
and then proposed to a lady to take a ride with him to Fort 
Snelling. When they started home again, he gave her a bun- 
dle and asked her to take care of it while he drove, which she 
unsuspectingly did: and that is the way the Pembina retumi 
of Minnesota's tn si state elf. lion reached the proper custodian 
at the Capitol. It is needle88 to say how many votes they 

represented, but only to announce that the election went 


Whether Tyson had any idea of doing what we suspected 
him of, I never discovered, but if he did, he had a long ride 
for nothing; and as our scheme was so successful, I am will- 
ing to acquit him of the charge. 


In looking over the map of Minnesota, and the Northwest 
generally, a thoughtful observer can read between the lines 
a good many things of interest not visible on the exterior. 
For instance, the nationality and religion of the first comers 
can easily be determined by the names of the rivers and cities. 
All over Minnesota and what we generally call the Northwest 
is written the fact that the first, innovation made upon the 
Indian was by the Frenchman, and the Catholic Frenchman. 
We here find St. Paul, St. Anthony, St. Croix/ which suggest 
the religion. Then we find Lac qui Parle, Traverse des Sioux, 
Trempealeau, Pomme de Terre, and other French names, in- 
dicating the nationality. Some of the French names are 
original with them, and some are literal translations of the 
Indian names into French. For instance, take the name of 
Lac qui Parle, meaning the lake which speaks, or the talking 
lake. It got its name from the fact that it emits a constant 
sound of murmuring or gurgling, which naturally attracted 
the Sioux, and they named it M' Day-ea, or the Talking lake, 
which the French literally translated into Lac qui Parle. It 
was a very early post for the French traders, and has main- 
tained the French name very much in its purity, the reason 
for which I attribute to the difficulty of corrupting it, the 
words being too simple to be distorted into anything else. 

The same may be said of Traverse des Sioux, the crossing 
of the Sioux, the Indian name of which I have forgotten, but 
the words are so simple that it would be difficult to pronounce 
them incorrectly, except the "des" which is frequently railed 
"dess," as the name of the tribe of Indians called the Nei 
Perce's, or Pierced Noses, is frequently pronounced "NeBfl 

When we cross over to the Pacific coasl wo And the un- 
mistakable handwriting <>f the Catholic Spaniard. Here n*e 
have San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Santa CrUS, 

San Diego, and, farther east, the river named Rio Grande del 



Norte, which separates us from Mexico, all of which bespeak 
the Spaniard and the Catholic. In Mexico we find, besides 
many Spanish names, the unpronounceable names of the 
Aztecs, proving their previous occupancy of the country. 

How long these landmarks of the nativity and religion of 
the early settlers will remain is doubtful. Some of them, 
like San Francisco, will endure as long as the country lasts 
and is inhabited by civilized people, for reasons quite appar- 
ent. But it must be kept in mind that they are not only rap- 
idly disappearing, but that many of them have been twisted 
out of all possible recognition by the immigration which suc- 
ceeded the French and the Spanish. With all our love and 
admiration of the American pioneer, we must admit that he 
could not as a general thing be called a man of culture, and 
especially was he not a linguist. In ninety-nine cases out of 
every hundred he could not speak his own language without 
disturbing Lindley Murray in his coffin. So these French and 
Spanish names stood a very poor chance of being perpetuated 
in their purity through his agency. 

I will now give you some instances of the utter annihilation 
of such names in our own state. There is a river in the south- 
ern portion of Minnesota which was in the early days of In- 
dian trade navigable for Mackinac boats and canoes, and 
was much used. The navigation, however, was difficult and 
embarrassing, which gave it the name, by the French voy- 
ageur, of "La Riviere des embarras," or the difficult river. 
Now the voyageur was usually a half-breed Indian: or. if a 
pure Frenchman, he spoke the Sioux language, which has 
many guttural sounds, and it tinctured his French. He usu- 
ally spoke very rapidly, and made all the short cuts he could 
to the end he desired. When speaking of this river he always 
called it "Des embarras," which, spoken quickly with a gut- 
tural intonation, gave the American settler the word "Zum- 
bro," and thus we have on our maps a Zumbro river and a 
town of Zumbrota. 

Quite as curious and equally as effective an Instance tor 
the destruction of a name 1 will relate in connection with lake 
Superior. Most of you will remember the curious sandy beach 
formation at Puluth called Minnesota point. It is a long 

finger of land projected from the Minnesota shore toward the 

Wisconsin side, a distance of some six miles, to the natural 




outlet of the St. Louis river into the lake. It is composed 
entirely of pebbles and sand thrown up from the bottom of 
the lake and held in place by the current of the St. Louis river 
meeting the wash of the lake, and presents a very curious 
and interesting subject for the scientist. Now, out in the 
lake somewhere, similar influences threw up a small island 
of the same material, which was in an early day quite danger- 
ous to navigation. The French word for a pebble of this 
character is "galet." So the French called this island "Isle 
aux Galets," or the island of pebbles. In the early days of 
lake navigation the sailors and pilots were principally Cana- 
dian Frenchmen, and in speaking this name of the island 
• quickly it was caught by the American as "Skillegallee," and 
it has actually so passed into the United States charts. 

There is a town in Wisconsin on the Mississippi river called 
"Trempealeau." It derives its name from a conical bluff 
near the present site of the town, which in very high water 
is surrounded by the river and becomes an island. The French 
called it "La Montagne qui trempe a l'eau" (the mountain 
which soaks in the water). The name of the town is wonder- 
fully well preserved, very much better than in most cases; 
but I venture the assertion that not an inhabitant of it knows 
the origin of its name, unless he is a Frenchman. 

I must relate a little circumstance connected with this 
town that occurred a good many years ago in the days of river 
travel. I was coming up the river on a steamboat, and, as 
the day was fine, I was sitting on the hurricane deck. The 
boats were full of tourists in those days, all anxious for in- 
formation. The proprietors of the town had put up a large 
sign to attract attention, with one word, "Trempealeau." A 
lady asked the captain in my presence what that meant and 
where it came from. He looked wise and said, "Madam, it is 
Winnebago." She was perfectly satisfied, and I did not cor- 
rect the information, which she probably recorded in her 
diary and communicated to her eastern friends. 1 have not 
as yet seen it in any authentic history, but will be not at all 
surprised to find it there some day. 

To k r i\e you a further idea of the knowledge of the river 
captains in those days, l will relate a little incident which 

occurred on the upper Missouri onee when 1 was ascending 
that stream in a boat called the "Twilight." On the jaekstalT 



of this boat was a flag bearing the sign of a crescent moon, 
with a star perched on one of its horns. It was pretty and 
attracted my attention. An opportunity occurred one night 
which opened the way to my asking the captain the meaning 
of his legend. It was the curious coincidence of exactly the 
same sign appearing in the heavens. I suppose it was the 
preparation for the occultation of Venus; at any rate v the signs 
were identical. I called the captain's attention to it, and 
asked him what his flag signified. He carefully scanned the 
heavens, studied the flag, and solemnly announced: "It is 
a sign of rain." If, under such educational influences, any- 
thing of the past remains, it will be a miracle. 

The gentlemen who laid out the town of Minneiska, down 
the river in this state, wrote to me for the name of "White 
Water" in Sioux, as they wished to name the town after the 
White Water river, which empties into the Mississippi river 
in that neighborhood. I wrote the name "Minne-ska/' white 
water. They mulled over it, and concluded that if ever a rail- 
road went through the town the brakemen could not manage 
that name successfully, and called it by the more euphonious 
name, of Minneiska, which means nothing at all. 

Then there is Mankato, which is a corruption of "Ma-ka-to," 
or Blue Earth. 


I passed several years among the Sioux Indians of this 
country, and was at one time United States Indian agent for 
them; so I naturally picked up some of their language, and 
learned their ways and customs. 

An aboriginal people like these savages have very few 
wants, and consequently their language is very meager in its 
means of expression. Therefore, when new obects were pre- 
sented to them, in order to talk about them among themselves 
they had to find names for them, and such names would, in 
the nature of things, be descriptive. When they lirst saw a 
white man he was a Frenchman. They called him "YYa-sho- 
cha," or the white man. The next appearance of the white 
man was the American soldier. The officers always carried 
a sword. The Indian had never seen so Long a knife, and he 
called the American "Isan-tanka," or the long knife. After- 


ward came the German. His language fell harshly on the 
Indian ear, and they called him "Ea-shee-sha," or the bad 

Perhaps one of the most illustrative cases of naming a 
person or thing by description is found in the name they gave 
me. When I first went into the Indian country, about forty- 
four years ago, I found a young Scotsman by the name of 
Garvie, and camped with him. The Indians called him "Chun- 
ka-tokacha-wa-pa-ha,".or the man who wears the wolfskin 
cap. They gradually began to call me "the tall American," 
or "Isan-tanka-hans-ka." When I was not recognized by 
that name, they would say "Isan-tanka-hanska-ark-ho," which 
means "the tall American who combs his hair back;" and if 
that failed to indicate my personality, they would say, "Isan- 
tanka-hanska-ark-ho, tepee Chunka-tokacha-wa-pa-ha," which 
means, "the tall American who combs his hair back, who lives 
with the man who wears the wolfskin cap." That became my 
name, but was usually shortened to "Ark-ko," he who combs 
his hair back; and when I became their agent, it was changed 
to "Ah-tay," or father. 

You have heard, no doubt, that the thoughts of the wild 
Indian sometimes run in a poetical vein. This is true, and I 
will give you an instance of it which is in line with the idea 
I am presenting of the resort to description for naming per- 
sons and things. Of course, a Sioux Indian in his natural 
state never saw a domestic rooster or chicken cock. When 
immigration began to crowd them this splendid bird made his 
appearance. They observed his noble carriage, his beautiful 
plumage, and his defiant air; but none of these characteristics 
afforded ground for a name. They then discovered that he 
had the peculiarity of crowing before the dawn each morning, 
and they gave him his name from this circumstance. They 
called him "An-pay-ho-to-na," or "the voice of the morning," 
which may be rendered, "He speaks in the morning." I. how- 
ever, prefer the former as containing a really poetic expres- 

Many such cases can be recalled, i will give you another 
that contains both the poetic and descriptive idea. Of course, 
before the advent of the whites, an Indian never saw the in- 
flection of his face in anything but the surface of i lake or 
stream. When he was presented with a Looking-glass he was 


amazed to see the same phenomenon repeated. He called it 
"Minne Odessa," or "It looks like water." I know that this 
name for a looking-glass is not the one given in the Dakota 
Dictionary. It is there called "Ih-di-yom-da-sin;" but I 
learned it, as I have given it, in the camps, and it struck me 
as very pretty, so I propose to stick to my original version, 
the dictionary to the contrary notwithstanding. In fact I am 
a good deal like a big Missouri friend I had out in the Sierra 
Nevada mountains, by the name of Jim Gatewood. He used 
to write his letters in my office, and frequently asked me how 
to spell a word. I finally said, "Jim, why don't you look in 
the dictionary?" (There was a big Webster on the table.) 
"Wal, Judge," he replied, "I never got the hang of them bloody 
dictionaries." We see in these things a certain unstudied 
tinge of natural poetry. 

When the steamboat appeared among them with its fiery 
furnaces and huge stacks, puffing out volumes of black smoke 
and sparks, they were amazed and called it by the only name 
that would naturally occur to them, "pata-wata," or fire canoe. 

The next phenomenon that came along was the railroad 
cars, propelled by fire as the steamboat was; and what do 
you think they called them? "The fire canoe that goes over 
the mountain." As there were no railroads when I lived 
among the Indians, I cannot give you the Sioux for it except 
as I have since learned it, "Ha-ma-nee." "Ma-nee" is to walk. 

There was a Virginia friend of mine who, on his first see- 
ing an express train go whizzing by, gave it a name equally 
descriptive. He called it "Hell in harness." 

You have often seen the flocks of wild geese as they fly 
over our state in their annual migrations from the south to the 
north and back again, and heard them squawk: the sound 
they make is expressed by the word "ma-ga," and the Sioux 
calls the wild goose "ma-ga," in exact imitation of his cry. 
An Indian will hide himself and call "ma-ga, ma-ga," as a 
flock is passing, and deceive them into believing one of their 
number is in distress, and by this means turn the whole (lock 
and get a shot at them. 

There is another point to which I WOUld like to draw your 
attention. Among the Sioux, the dog seems to be the generic 
type or standard for almost all animals. They call a dog 


"chunka," a wolf "chunka-toka-cha," or the other dog, which 
is very appropriate, as the two animals very much resemble 
each other. The horse is called "wakon-chunka," or the spirit 
dog; the panther or cougar, "enemu-chunka," or the cat dog, 
a cat being called "enemu." This may extend to other animals, 
but I am fast forgetting my Sioux and cannot give more in- 
stances. . . % 


The most interesting ceremony I remember having seen 
among the Sioux, was a trial to determine the fair fame of a 
young woman. The manner in which is was conducted, and 
the apparently correct decision arrived at, although the meth- 
od of procedure was the very opposite of anything ever seen 
in a civilized court, was very impressive, and deeply interest- 
ing. I will endeavor to give you an idea of it. The name of 
the ceremony is "the maiden feast," and it takes place under 
the following circumstances. 

Whenever any gossip or scandal about any maiden in the 
band gains circulation, and reaches the ears of her mother, 
the latter commands her daughter to give a maiden feast to 
vindicate her character. The girl then summons all the maid- 
ens in the band to her feast at a certain time, which is an- 
nounced through the band. When the hour arrives all the 
girls appear on the prairie; they all have a red spot painted 
with vermillion on each cheek. A large, round stone painted 
red is placed on the prairie, with a long knife stuck in the 
ground in front of it and close to it. The girls then form 
a semicircle in front of the stone and knife, and each one 
separately comes forward and touches the stone with her 
right hand, then falls back about twenty-five feet and sits 
down on the grass. The hostess, having taken her place with 
the rest, then retires and returns with a dish for each of her 
guests, on which is a small quantity of rice, and a knife or 
spoon to eat it with. After they are all helped, she takes her 
place in the. circle, and they all begin slowly and in an un- 
concerned way to eat, not looking away from their dishes. 
The object of this is a. challenge to any man in the band to 
publicly make any charge he may have against any of the 
girls: the touching the stone is regarded as a very sacred ami 
solemn oath that the accused will tell the truth. 


While these preliminary arrangements are being made, all 
the rest of the band, men, women, and children, have assem- 
bled, and every one awaits to see if any charge will be made. 
The manner of making an accusation, is for the party making 
it to step up in front of the girl, seize her by the hand and pull 
her to her feet. If nothing transpires before the rice is eaten, 
the giver of the feast is vindicated, her character restored, 
and her mother satisfied ; then the feast is broken up and the 
actors disperse. 

I cannot convey the idea of the making of a charge, and 
the trial of its truth or falsity, better than to relate what I 
witnessed on one of these occasions. When the circle was 
formed, a young buck stepped boldly in front of a very pretty 
girl of about sixteen or eighteen' years, and roughly jerked 
her to her feet, and charged her with some indiscretion. The 
spectators watched the countenances of both parties with the 
closest scrutiny. The face of the accused became a study. 
She seemed paralyzed with indignation, and looked her ac- 
cuser boldly in the eye with an expression of injured innocence 
so intense and agonizing as to prevent utterance. The two 
stood glaring upon each other in silence for a short time, 
when the man displayed symptoms of nervousness, which im- 
mediately attracted the audience, and they began crying out 
to the girl, "Swear! Swear!" This seemed to give her cour- 
age, and, wrenching herself forcibly from her accuser, she 
strode with a queenly air to the stone and almost em- 
braced it. This together with an apparent weakening of the 
man, seemed to convince the people of her innocence, and they 
began to jeer and howl at him until he commenced to back 
from his position, when about fifty men and boys closed in on 
him, and he fled like a scared antelope, with the crowd at his 
heels, hurling sticks and stones at him until he disappeared 
from sight. I never was more satisfied with the correctness 
of a decision in all my experience. 


In speaking of the origin of names of natural objects in our 
state, one of the most interesting is "Itasca." which is the 
name of the lake now known to be the true source of the Mis- 
sissippi river. Most people think it is an Indian word, but 
such is not the case. It is a coined word, and was made under 
the following circumstances. 


It has always been an object of interest to know where this 
great river has its source. More than fifty years ago, when 
Gen. Lewis Cass was governor of Michigan, his territory in- 
cluded all that is now Minnesota, and he made a voyage of dis- 
covery to find the source of the river. He ascended in birch 
canoes until he reached the large lake now known as Cass 
lake, and not finding any inlet he decided it to be the source, 
and did not pursue his investigations further. This lake was 
from that time called Cass lake, and was supposed to be the 
head of the river. Some years afterward Mr. Schoolcraft un- 
dertook the same exploration, and, finding a considerable inlet 
to Cass lake, he advanced to its sources, and found a small 
lake which he was convinced was the true head, which our 
historical society has since absolutely verified. Schoolcraft 
was not a man of much education, and knew little Latin and 
less Greek. He wanted a name for his lake that would be 
agreeable to the ear and appropriate to the subject. He had 
with him a gentleman, who recently died in Stillwater, Rev. 
William T. Boutwell,« whom he consulted on the important 
subject of naming his new-found lake. This person took two 
Latin words, "veritas," truth, and "caput," the head, which 
Schoolcraft cut down, to retain only the last two syllables of 
"veritas," making "Itas," and the first syllable of "caput," 
making "ca." He then joined them and made the beautiful 
word "Itasca" or the true head. A more skillful or beautiful 
feat in a literary point of view was never achieved. 

You will find this name accounted for erroneously in some 
of the editions of Webster's Dictionary. He says it is taken 
from two Indian words, "la" and "totosha," meaning, I have 
found the breast of the woman, or the source of life. This is 
entirely unfounded, as the words can not be tortured into mak- 
ing the word Itasca; and we know without a doubt that the 
explanation I give is absolutely correct. Some one fooled 
Webster. It is true that the words he quotes are strictly good 
Chippewa, and mean what he says they do, "la," I have found, 
and "to-to-sha," the female breast; but they are utterly for- 
eign to the name "Itasca." 

Another illustration of the descriptive nomenclature of the 

Sioux is found in the name they give a piano, "ehan-da-wa ki- 
ya-pee," which means an instrument made of wood that talks 


It occurs to me that we have an illustration of the fact 
that original names are fast passing away in our own state 
and city. We have a county of Wabasha, a city of Wabasha, 
and in St. Paul a Wabasha street. All these names come 
from an Indian chief whom I knew very well and highly re- 
spected. He was a chief of the "Wak-pay-ku-ties," or leaf- 
shooters, and his name w r as "Wa-pa-sha," not Wabasha. 
"Wapa" means a leaf, a staff, and a bear's head; "sha" means 
red. So his name meant either Ked Leaf, Red Staff, or Red 
Bear's Head. We always thought it meant the Red Leaf. 
This corruption between Wabasha and Wapasha is not of so 
much importance; but it is well, while we can, to get things 
right. It amounts to about as much as Thompson with a "p," 
or Thomson without a "p." 

Another instance exists right in our own midst. Robert 
street was named after Louis Robert, pronounced "Robeaiv' a 
prominent Frenchman among the old settlers, and until quite 
recently was always given the French pronunciation "Robear," 
but the newcomers all call it Robert street. I was in a street- 
car the other day and told the conductor to put me off at "Ro- 
bear" street. He promptly informed me that I was on the 
wrong car. It will not be long before the correct name will 
be forgotten. 


A singular thing among the Sioux Indians was their faith 
in their medical mysteries. There is a guild among them 
called medicine men. They work wonders with the sick and 
afflicted. I have known men sick with rheumatism to be 
cured by the medicine men rattling gourds full of beans oyer 
their prostrate forms, and chanting in a manner calculated 
to kill the sick and destroy the nerves of the well. I haw had 
them bring to me the evidence of their success in various ways. 
One man was sick unto death with rheumatism. The medi- 
cine men worked over him for several days and finally pro- 
duced an old-fashioned flint-style gunlock, which they ex- 
tracted from his afflicted back. They Showed me this iu tri- 
umph. I read on it "Harper's Ferry'' in very plain English. 
I have had them show me live frogs and snakes which they 
had taken out of their patients. 


Now, it is easy to understand how the medicine man can 
humbug his patients. We see this every day in civilized life. 
But how the medicine man can be humbugged in the same 
way it is difficult to understand. But such is undoubtedly 
the case. When an old friend of mine, named Shakopee, who 
was a medicine man, became sick at the Redwood Agency, I 
sent my doctor down to see him. I was then represented by 
Dr. Daniels, now one of the most prominent physicians in the 
state, living at St. Peter. He reported that he was sick with 
typhoid fever, and that all he needed was good nursing, good 
food, and rest. I had the facilities for all these conditions, 
and sent an ambulance to bring him to my agency. But he 
positively refused, and had the medicine men drum and rattle 
beans over him until he died. Now, this has always been to 
me a problem; do these savages actually believe in their medi- 
cine, and that they get gunlocks, snakes, frogs and such things 
out of their patients? or would they rather die under the same 
treatment than confess their frauds by accepting civilized 
methods? I confess that I have never been able to solve the 
problem, and when my old friend Shakopee stuck to the bar- 
baric treatment unto death, I rather inclined to the opinion 
that they were really in earnest. It is an interesting question, 
and, having given the facts, I turn the psychological part of it 
over to the thinkers. 

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I have given you a general 
melange of everything, which contains very little of anything; 
and if I have amused, interested, or instructed you, in any de- 
gree, I am well repaid. 





Columbus discovered the fringes and borders of the great 
western world on his first and second voyages. He left it to 
be explored and occupied by the rivals of many different na- 
tions. The French, the English, and the Spanish, sent out 
many adventurers and explorers, the prows of whose vessels 
were turned ever westward. Nicollet, Marquette, and La 
Salle; the Cabots, Frobisher, and Drake; Ponce de Leon, Bal- 
boa, and De Soto, all won laurels and enduring fame for them- 
selves from the discoveries and explorations made on this 
continent. The French, naturally a race of explorers, in whom 
discovery speedily develops into a passion, were among the 
foremost to penetrate far into the interior of the new world. 
They came either as explorers and discoverers in search of 
adventure, as leaders of expeditions, and as traders and sol- 
diers, or as missionaries with Bible and Crucifix, carrying the 
gospel of Cross and Church to the fiercest savage tribes in the 
remote wilderness. They passed westward by the natural 
chain of communication, consisting of rivers and the line of 
great lakes, until they pierced the very center of the continent 
itself, and established wherever they weut trading posts and 
mission stations. These afterwards developed into the numer- 
ous towns and cities which still bear the names of the early 
French explorers. They pushed their enterprises throughout 
the entire valley of the Mississippi and traversed the remotest 
regions of the Northwest. With unwearied feel they stayed 
not until they had made good their claims of discovery by 
actual possession, and then rested not from their labors until 

•Head nt the monthly meeting of the RXftOUttTt Council, April 11. IStfe 



they had erected the cross of conquest beside every lake and 
watercourse throughout the heart of the continent. 

We naturally divide the first pioneers into two classes: 
The first were commissioned by king or emperor, and with 
sword in their hand they pushed their discoveries farther and 
farther toward the setting sun, in the hope of winning em- 
pires for their sovereigns, and the wealth of unclaimed Eldo- 
rados for themselves. The second were pious and devout mis- 
sionaries, with letters patent from pope or bishop, who, with- 
out hope of earthly gain, but inspired with a lofty zeal and 
ardent faith, kept step with the more worldly conquerors and 
under the banner of the cross expected to gain for themselves 
and their converts eternal felicity beyond the grave. These 
devout and zealous men were usually attached to the com- 
pany and subservient to the will and orders of the leader of 
the exploring party. It was to this class that Father Louis 
Hennepin, the chief character of this sketch, belonged. 

La Salle was the most noted French explorer that ever 
traversed the valley of the Mississippi. He began his great 
western voyage of discovery on the 7th day of August, 1G79. 
Among those who accompanied him on that memorable expe- 
dition was Louis Hennepin, a Franciscan priest of the Recol- 
lect order. By the middle of January, 16S0, La Salle had con- 
ducted his exploration to the banks of the Illinois river. Near 
lake Peoria he commenced the erection of Fort Crevecceur. 
It is not within the purview of this paper to relate the adven- 
tures, discoveries and wondrous achievements of this redoubt- 
able Frenchman. His biography is filled with accounts of 
incredible hardships and superhuman efforts. The story of 
his life shows him, though baffled, a conqueror, and though 
defeated, yet winning enduring and lasting fame. In estimat- 
ing his character, Francis Parkman says: "Never, under the 
impenetrable mail of paladin or crusader, beat a heart of 
more interpid mettle than within the stoic panoply that armed 
the breast of La Salle. To estimate aright the marvels of his 
patient fortitude, one must follow on his track through the 
vast scene of his interminable journeyings, those thousands of 
weary miles of forest, marsh, and river, where, again ami 
again, in the bitterness of baffled striving, the untiring pil- 
grim pushed onward towards the goal which ho was never to 



attain. America owes him an enduring memory; for in this 
masculine figure, cast in iron, she sees the heroic pioneer who 
guided her to the possession of her richest heritage."* 


In February, 1680, La Salle selected Michel Accau, Antoine 
Auguel, known also as Du Gay,f and Father Hennepin, for the 
arduous and dangerous undertaking of exploring the unknown 
regions of the upper Mississippi. Accau, because of his 
knowledge of the Sioux language and customs, was chosen 
as the leader of the expedition, but Father Hennepin, as its his- 
torian, takes most of the credit both of the leadership and dis- 
covery to himself. Daring and ambitious of the title of a dis- 
coverer, he was not unwilling to go upon the expedition, al- 
though he is said to have desired some delay on account of a 
sore mouth. 

Their canoe was pushed from the sandy shore of the Illi- 
nois river on the last day of February, 1GS0. Besides the trav- 
ellers, it contained a generous supply of tobacco, knives, beads, 
awls, and other goods, to a considerable value, supplied at La 
Salle's cost. Referring to this act of generosity, Hennepin 
says in the first edition of his work, although it is omitted in 
all subsequent editions, that La Salle was liberal enough to 
his friends., The friar bade adieu to La Salle and his com- 
panions, while his venerable colleague, Kibourde, gave him 
his parting benediction, saying, as he spread his hands over 
the head of the reverend traveller, "Be of good courage and let 
your heart be comforted." 

The travellers were detained at the mouth of the Illinois 
for some time on account of the ice floating in the Mississippi. 
As soon as opportunity offered, the three travellers turned 
their canoe northward and plied their paddles against the cur- 
rent of the Mississippi. We are informed that during their 
voyage they were exemplary in their devotions. Hennepin 
tells us that they said their prayers at morning and night 
and the angelus at noon, invoking St. Anthony of Padua that 

•La Saiio and the Discovery of the Qreal West, p. 107. 

tTn the spMiinpr of those names t have followed Parkmait They are also 

spelled Michael Accault or Ako. and A m; u>d lo. the Latter being BkOte com- 
monly called "the Plcard Du Gay" (or du Quay). 


he would protect them from the perils surrounding their way; 
and Hennepin, not without reason, prayed that it might be the 
good fortune of the company to meet the warlike Sioux by day 
rather than by night. They proceeded unmolested until they 
reached the region about the mouth of the Wisconsin. At 
this point the petitions of Hennepin were realized, and he 
tells us of their capture in the following language: > 

Our prayers were heard when, on the 11th of April, 1680, at two 
o'clock in the afternoon, we suddenly perceived thirty-three bark 
canoes, manned by a hundred and twenty Indians, coming down with 
extraordinary speed, to make war on the Miamis, Islinois, and Maroha. 
These Indians surrounded us, and, while at a distance, discharged 
some arrows at us; but as they approached our canoe the old men 
seeing us with the calumet of peace in our hands, prevented the young 
men from killing us. These brutal men, leaping from their canoes, 
some on land, others into the water, with frightful cries and yells, 
approached us, and as we made no resistance, being only three 
against so great a number, one of them wrenched our calumet from 
our hands, while our canoe and theirs were made fast to the shore. 
We first presented them a piece of Petun or French tobacco, better for 
smoking than theirs, and the eldest among them uttered these words. 
"Miamiha, Miamiha." As we did not understand their language, we 
took a little stick, and by signs which we made on the sand, showed 
them that their enemies, the Miamis, whom they sought, had fled 
across the river Colbert to join the Islinois; when then they saw 
themselves discovered and unable to surprise their enemies, three or 
four old men laying their hands on my head, wept in a lugubrious 
tone, and I with a wretched handkerchief I had left, wiped away their 
tears. These savages would not smoke our peace-calumet. They made 
us cross the river with great cries, which all shouted together, with 
tears in their eyes; they made us paddle before them, and we heard 
yells capable of striking the most resolute with terror. After landing 
our canoe and our goods, some part of which they had already stolen, 
we made a fire to boil our kettle; we gave them two large wild turkeys 
that we had killed. These savages having called their assembly to de- 
liberate on what they were to do with us, the two head chiefs of the 
party .approaching, showed us, by signs, that the warriors wished to 
tomahawk us. This compelled me to go to the war chiefs with one of 
my men, leaving the other by our property, and throw Into their mi lst 
six axes, fifteen knives, and six fathom of our black tobacco. Then 
bowing down my head, I showed them, With an :i\e. thai they ml 
tomahawk us, if they thought proper. This present appeased several 
Individuals among them, who gave us some bearer to eat, patting the 

three first morsels In our mouth according to the CUStOm of the Coun- 
try, and blowing on the meat which was too hot, before putting their 




bark dish before us, to let us eat as we liked. We spent the night In 
anxiety, because, before retiring at night, they had returned our peace 

On the nineteenth day of the journey of the three travellers 
the Indians landed their prisoners in a bay about five leagues 
below the Falls of St. Anthony. The worthy father had a severe 
experience and foretaste of the oppression in store for him 
during the journey. Upon opening his breviary, when he be- 
gan to mutter his morning devotions, the Indians gathered 
about him with faces which showed their superstitious terror. 
They gave him to understand that his book was a bad spirit, 
with which he was to hold no more converse. In their igno- 
rance, they believed that he was invoking a charm for their 
destruction. Accau and Du Gay, realizing the danger that 
was imminent, begged the friar to dispense with his devotions, 
fearing that they all might be tomahawked by the Indians. 
The good father, however, asserts that his sense of religious 
obligation rose superior to his fears, and he resolved to say his 
prayers at all hazards, although he asked pardon of his two 
friends for in this way imperilling their lives. In this emer- 
gency, however, as in most of the difficulties which beset his 
way, he found a device by which he could at once fulfill his 
religious duties, without imperilling his life or the lives of 
his friends. He says that he placed the breviary open upon 
his knees and sang the service in loud and cheerful tones. 
This seems to have had a salutary effect upon the warriors, as 
it had no savor of sorcery, and they now imagined that the 
book was instructing the good father to sing for their amuse- 
ment. Accordingly, they conceived a favorable idea of both 
the priest and the method of his devotions. 

One of the chiefs, named Aquipaguetin, who had lost a 
son in the war with the Miamis, being angry that the war 
party had not proceeded with their expedition, so that he 
might avenge himself for the loss of his son, was particularly 
hostile and enraged toward the captives. Several times dur- 
ing their captivity this warlike chief was on the point of toma- 
hawking (ho prisoners, it may bo somewhat of a question 
whether or not he was as desirous of their scalps as ho was 
of their property, for he seemed on each outbreak of his anger 


to be appeased by gifts. The old chief had a peculiar method 
of appropriating their property, which, according to Indian 
custom, was in their untutored state "due process of law." He 
conveyed with him the bones of a deceased relative, which he 
was carrying home wrapped in numerous skins prepared with 
smoke after the Indian fashion, decorated with feathers and 
quills. Placing these relics in the midst of his warriors, he 
would call on all present to smoke to their honor. After the 
smoking ceremony was over, Hennepin was required to ap- 
pease the departed spirit with the more substantial tribute of 
cloth, beads, tobacco, and hatchets, which were laid upon the 
bundle of bones. The offerings of the friar were then, in the 
name of the deceased, distributed among the warriors present. 

The three captives were distributed, and each was given 
to the head of a family in place of their children who had been 
killed in war. The Indians then seized all their property and 
broke their canoe, probably fearing that the white men might 
return to their enemies. The band of Indians then commenced 
a march overland to the lake of the Issati (Mille Lacs). Hen- 
nepin tells us that they were forced to march from daybreak 
until two hours after nightfall and to swim over many rivers. 
The braves carried the two other Frenchmen on their shoul- 
ders in fording these streams, because they could not swim ; 
but he was compelled to swim these rivers, which he says 
were often full of sharp ice, and he adds that his legs were 
bloody from being cut by the ice of shallower water which he 
forded, and that on leaving the water he could hardly stand 
on account of the cold. He also says that they partook of 
food only once in twenty-four hours, and that then the bar- 
barians gave them grudgingly only some pieces of meat. 
There is not much doubt that the historian of this expedition 
is correct when he states that the Indians marched with great 
speed, and that it was very difficult for Europeans to keep up 
with them. In order to hasten the footsteps of the white men. 
the Indians often set fire to the grass where they were patting, 
so that they had to advance or be burned. They at length 
arrived at the village of tli<* issati. near Mille Lacs, the source 
of tlu> Rum river, named by Hennepin the st. Francis. The 
reception they met on their approach is best told In tlu> words 
of Hennepin himself: 


After five days' march by land, suffering hunger, thirst and outrages, 
marching all day long without rest, fording lakes and rivers, we 
descried a number of women and children coming to meet our little 
army. All the elders of this nation assembled on our account, and as 
we saw cabins, and bundles of straw hanging from the posts of them, 
to which these savages bind those wnom they take as slaves, and 
burn them; and seeing that they made the Picard du Gay sing, as he 
held and shook a gourd full of little round pebbles, and seeing his hair 
and face were filled with paint of different colors, and a tuft of white 
feathers attached to his head by the Indians, we not unreasonably 
thought that they wished to kill us, as they performed many cere- 
monies, usually practiced when they intend to burn their enemies. 

During his stay among the Sioux, Hennepin was assigned 
to the protection of his ancient enemy, Aquipaguetin, who, 
seemingly to atone for his harsh treatment of the holy father, 
immediately adopted him as his son. The three companions 
were separated, and Hennepin was conducted to the lodge 
of his adopted father, near the shore of Mille Lacs. Here 
Hennepin was received cordially and placed on a bear skin 
before the fire, while to relieve his fatigue he was anointed 
by a small boy with the fat of a wildcat, which was supposed 
to be a specific for all lameness of limb on account of the 
agility of that animal. The chief displayed to Hennepin his 
six or seven wives, who were bidden to regard him- as their 

The Indians, seeing him so w r eak that he could hardly 
stand, either on account of fatigue or some malady, erected 
for him a sweating cabin, where they gave him; a steam bath 
three times a week, from which he declares that he received 
much benefit.* 

The Indians regarded Hennepin as endowed with powers 
of magic, and they stood in awe of his pocket compass, as well 
as of "an iron pot with three lion feet," which they would not 
touch with uncovered hands. Hennepin tells us that he 
passed his time in various occupations about the camp; in 
tonsuring the heads of the Indian children, and in bleeding 
certain persons affected with asthma, as well as dosing others 
with orvietan, a drug bold in high regard In that day, of which 

•Thete baths nro given in a srriMll hut. CO V* red Ctoioly with buffalo skin*, 

into which the patient and ids Crienda enter) carefully closing every ap» r- 
ture. a pile of heated stones is placed in the middle, fcnd ^;<tcr is poured) 

Upon them, raising a dense vapor. In IMiS they wnr stdl in use among: the 
BIoux nnd some other tribes. 



he had a good supply. His religious efforts with the Indians 
seem to have proved unavailing, as he says he could gain noth- 
ing over them in the way of their salvation, on account of 
their natural stupidity. 

While there was not much love lost between Hennepin and 
his Indian father, there seems to have been a strong attach- 
ment between Ouasicoude", the principal chief of the Sioux in 
that region, and the three Frenchmen. He asserted that he 
was angry that they had been robbed, which he had been un- 
able to prevent. He told Hennepin's adopted father and the 
other Issati warriors in council that they were like a pack of 
curs who seize a piece of meat and run away with it. 

One thing which caused the Indians to regard Father Hen- 
nepin as different from his two companions was the fact of his 
being able to write. In order to learn the language, he asked 
the names of many objects, and then reduced the spoken words 
to writing. This afforded great amusement to the Indians. 
He says they often put questions to him, but as he had to look 
at his paper in order to answer them they said to one another : 
"When we ask Pere Louis, he does not answer us; but as 
soon as he has looked at what is white [for they have no word 
to say paper], he answers us, and tells us his thoughts. That 
white thing," they said, "must be a spirit which tells Pere 
Louis all we say." 

During the captivity of Hennepin he was enabled to settle 
a geographical question of considerable importance. It was 
supposed that the Mississippi river emptied into the Gulf ot 
California and that the great ocean lay not far west of that 
river. On the maps of that day the northwest passage was 
laid down as through the straits of Anian, which were 
supposed to be not far from the source of the Mississippi. 
Hennepin learned from Indians who came to the village and 
who stated that they had come from the west fifteen hundred 
miles, a journey which occupied four months, that thqy had 
seen no sea nor any great body of water. They described the 
country to the far northwest with general accuracy, savin? 
that it contained no large bodies of water, but that it had m;iny 
rivers and thai there were few forests in that region. Hen- 
nepin decided, from these statements, that the straits of 
Anian, as shown upon the maps at that time, had no existence, 

He also supposed that the ronto to the Pacific waa through 


the rivers mentioned by these Indians. With reference to 
his conclusions on the subject, he says: 

All these circumstances make it appear that there is no such place 
as the Straits of Anian, as we usually see them set down on the 
maps. And "whatever efforts have been made for many years past by 
the English and Dutch, to find out a passage to the Frozen Sea, they 
have not yet been able to effect it. But by the help of my discovery, 
and the assistance of God, I doubt not but a passage may still be 
found, and that an easy one too. For example, we may be transported 
Into the Pacific Sea, by rivers which are large and capable of carrying 
great vessels, and from thence it is very easy to go to China and 
Japan, without crossing the equinoctial line, and, in all probability, 
Japan is on the same continent as America. 

The Indians had promised Hennepin, when he complained 
of hunger, that the tribes should go on a buffalo hunt and 
there would then be plenty of food. At length the time for 
departure came, and each band was assigned to its special 
hunting ground. Fearing to accompany his Indian father, 
lest he might take revenge for the berating of Ouasicoude*, 
Hennepin declared that he expected a party of French ex- 
plorers to meet him at the mouth of the Wisconsin river, who 
would bring a supply of goods for the Indians and sufficient 
food. He declares in his narrative that La Salle had, in fact, 
promised to send traders to that place. This assertion may 
have had some truth in it, but whether it was true or not, it 
served the purpose for which it was made. 

At length the Indians set out, numbering about two hun- 
dred and fifty warriors, with their wives and children. Dur- 
ing the time of their captivity the three Frenchmen had occa- 
sionally seen each other, and all were included in the hunting 
party. They descended the Rum river, called by Hennepin 
the St. Francis, which forms the outlet of Mille Lacs. Henne- 
pin was refused passage in the canoe paddled by I>u Gay and 
Accau. The latter would not listen to the friar's appeal to be 
taken on board, but shouted to him that he had paddled him 
long enough already. He was afterwards taken in, however, 
by two Indians who took pity on him and brought him on his 
journey. The party encamped at the mouth of the Rum river, 
near where Dayton, Minnesota, is now situated. 

Hennepin was desirous of leaving t ho Indian camp and 
anxious to set out. for the Wisconsin river to meet the party 


of white men, who, he alleged, were to arrive at that place. 
His friend, the great chief Ouasicoude*, who had heretofore 
befriended him, made it possible for him to be granted this 
privilege. Du Gay also was permitted to accompany him, 
but Accau preferred life with the Indians to travelling with 
Hennepin. The two adventurers were given a small birch 
canoe and an earthen pot, and, armed with a gun and knife 
and a robe of beaver skin, they set out on their journey. De- 
scending the Mississippi, they soon arrived at the Falls of St 
Anthony. The following account is given of the falls and of 
what the travellers found there on their downward journey: 

The navigation is interrupted by a cataract which I called the 
Palls of St. Anthony of Padua, in gratitude for, the favors done me 
by the Almighty through the intercession of that great saint, whom 
we had chosen patron and protector of all our enterprises. This cat- 
aract is forty or fifty feet high, divided in the middle of its fall by a 
rocky island of pyramidal form. The high mountains which skirt the 
river Colbert last only as far as the river Ouisconsin, about one hun- 
dred and twenty leagues; at this place it begins to flow from the west 
and northwest without our having been able to learn from the Indians, 
who have ascended it very far, the spot where this river rises. They 
merely told us, that twenty or thirty leagues above, there is a second 
fall, at the foot of which are some villages of the prairie people, called 
Thinthonha, who live there a part of the year. Eight leagues above 
St. Anthony of Padua's falls, on the right, you find the river of the 
Issati or Nadoussion, with a very narrow mouth, which you can 
ascend to the north for about seventy leagues to Lake Buade or [the 

Lake] of the Issati where it rises 

As we were making the portage of our canoe at tlie 

Falls of St. Anthony of Padua, we perceived five or six of our Indians 
who had taken the start; one of whom had climbed on oak opposite the 
great fall where he was weeping bitterly, with a well dressed beaver 
robe, whitened inside and trimmed with porcupine quills, which this 
savage was offering as a sacrifice to the falls, which is in itself admir- 
able and frightful. I heard him while shedding copious tears say, 
addressing this great cataract: "Thou who art a spirit, grant that the 
men of our nation may pass here quietly without accident, that we 
may kill buffalo in abundance, couquer our enemies, and bring slaves 
here, some of whom we will put to death before thee; the Meesenecqi 
[so they call the tribe named by the French Outouagnmis] have kille<l 
our kindred, grant that we may avenge them." In t'aet. after the heat 

of the buffalo hunt, they Invaded their enemlea' country, killed some, 
and brought others as slaves. If they sueeeed a single time, even after 
repeated failures, they adhere to their superstition. This robe Offered 

in sacrifice served one of our Frenchmen, who took it as we returned, 




About three weeks after Hennepin first saw the Falls of 
St. Anthony, as here narrated, he met Duluth, who was on his 
way to release these Frenchmen from their captivity. Henne- 
pin writes of this as follows: 

On the 25th of July, 1G80, as we were ascending the river Colbert, 
after the buffalo hunt, to the Indian villages, we met the Sieur de 
Luth, who came to the Nadoussious, with five French soldiers; they 
joined us about two hundred and twenty leagues distant from the 
country of the Indians who had taken us; as we had some knowledge 
of their language, they begged us to accompany them to the villages 
of those tribes, which I did readily, knowing that these Frenchmen 
had not approached the sacraments for two years. The Sieur de Luth, 
who acted as captain, seeing me tired of tonsuring the children, and 
bleeding asthmatic old men to get a' mouthful of meat told the In- 
dians that I was his elder brother, so that, having my subsistence 
secured, I labored only for the salvation of these Indians 

Toward the end of September, having no implements to begin an 
establishment, we resolved to tell these people, that for their benefit 
we would have to return to the French settlements. The great chief 
of the Issati or Nadouessiouz consented, and traced in pencil, on a 
paper I gave him, the route we were to take for four hundred leagues 
of the way. With this chart, we set out, eight Frenchmen, in two 
canoes, and descended the rivers St. Francis and Colbert. 

Thence the adventurers made their way to Canada, and 
subsequently Hennepin arrived in France. In 16S3 he pub- 
lished in Paris the first account of his American travels and 
captivity under the title "Description of Louisiana." There 
were afterward many editions and translations of this book 
printed. As many as twenty-eight different editions and pub- 
lications bear his name. 

Father Hennepin and his fellow voyageurs were the first 
white men whose eyes had rested on the waters of the Missis- 
sippi as they foamed and tossed over the Falls of St. Anthony. 

Where those Frenchmen more than two centuries ago 
stood, beholding in the clear sunlight the glistening spray of 
the Father of Waters, now stand the great flouring mills of 
Minneapolis, grinding the golden grain from t In- vast prairies 
of the Sioux. The sound of ibis machinery surpasses the roar 
of the primitive cataract, while the clear air of that earlier 

day is tilled with smoke of modern locomotive ami biasing 
furnace. Across that same stream over which Hennepin ami 
Auguel paddled their frail canoe, (In- steel ami granite high* 



ways of commerce rear their arching columns. Hennepin's 
name is linked indissolubly with his discovery as every foot 
of soil for many miles in every direction from the Falls of St. 
Anthony is handed down from generation to generation 
through the records of the county which bears his name. 


It is proper in this connection to look for a moment at the 
history and character of the discoverer. He was the first 
European to see and name the Falls of St. Anthony; the first 
to explore the Mississippi above the mouth of the Wisconsin; 
and the first to publish an account of his journeys and discov- 
eries in Europe. The facts concerning the early life of Hen : 
nepin are meager. 

He was born in Hainaut, a province of Belgium, in the town 
of Ath. During his early years he wished to visit foreign 
countries in search of adventure. In order to gain the object 
of his ambition he became a priest, as this was the surest road, 
in that age, to distinction. He became a member of the Recol- 
lect order of the Franciscans. He seems to have been chap- 
lain, in an early part of his career, at a hospital in Flanders, 
and was subsequently present at the battle of Seneffe in 1674. 
Two years later he received an order from his superior to em- 
bark for Canada. With this he gladly complied, as he hoped 
to be able in the new world to carry out his long cherished 
plan of discovery and exploration. He spent two years in the 
neighborhood of Quebec and Kingston in various undertakings 
and adventures, on one of which he penetrated as far among 
the Iroquois of New York as Albany. In the year 1G7S he 
was sent to join the expedition of La Salle, then about to em- 
bark on a voyage of discovery to the great lakes of the North- 
west His subsequent career has already been traced. 

Considerable discussion and speculation has arisen as to 
the authenticity and veracity of the accounts he gave of his 
discoveries and explorations. In 1GS3, three years after his 
discovery of the Falls, he published in Paris his "Description 
of Louisiana." Subsequently many editions of this original 
work appeared. The many changes and variations in these 
subsequent accounts have given rise to grave doubts as to 


Hennepin's veracity. His first book was published during the 
lifetime of La Salle, his superior officer on the expedition 
about which he was writing. 

Let us examine the evidence in the statements of his con- 
temporaries, and of those who lived at the time of the publica- 
tion of the various editions. La Salle, in a letter written Au- 
gust 22, 1682, probably to the Abbe' Bernou, about the time of 
Hennepin's return to France, says: 

I have deemed it seasonable to give you a narrative of the ad- . 
ventures of this canoe, because I have no doubt it will be spoken of, 
and if you desire to confer with Father Louis Hennepin, Recollect, 
who has gone back to France, it is necessary to know him somewhat, 
for he will not fail to exaggerate everything; it is his character; and 
to myself, he has written me, as though he had been all ready to be 
burned, although he was not even in danger; but he believes that it is 
honorable for him to act in this way, and he speaks more in keeping 
with what he wishes than what he knows. 

The researches of John Gilmary Shea inform us that Father 
Le Clercq, in 1691, referred to Hennepin and his first work in 
terms of praise; but that De Michel, the editor of Joutel in 
1713, said: 

Father Hennepin, a Fleming, of the same order of Recollects, who 
seems to know the country well, and who took part in great discov- 
eries; although the truth of his Relations is very much contested. 
He is the one who went northward towards the source of the Missicipi, 
which he called Mechasipi, and who printed at Paris a Relation of 
the countries around that river under the name of Louisiana. He 
should have stopped there and not gone on, as he did in Holland, to 
issue another edition much enlarged, and perhaps not so true, which 
he dedicated to William III, Prince of Orange, then King of Groat 
Britain, a design as odd as it was ridiculous in a religious, not to Bay 
worse. For after great long eulogies which he makes in his dedication 
of this Protestant prince, he begs and conjures him to think of those 
vast unknown countries, to conquer them, send colonies there, and 
obtain for the Indians the knowledge of the true Qod and of his 
worship, and to cause the gospel to be preached. This good religious 
whom many, on account of his extravagance, falsoly believed to have 
become an apostate, had no thought of such a thing. So he Kandallaed 
the Catholics and set the Huguenots Laughing. For would these en- 
emies 01 the Roman chureh pay Recollects to go to Canada to preach 

Popery as they called it? or would they carry any religion bm their 

own? And Fathor Hennepin, can he in that case offor any oxou 


As a result of Hennepin's dedication and declarations in 
this edition published in Utrecht in 1G97, the British were in- 
duced to send some vessels to enter and explore the Missis- 
sippi. The governor of Canada, Callieres, writing to the min- 
ister Pontchartrain, May 12th, 1699, said: "I have learned 
that they are preparing vessels in England and Holland, to 
take possession of Louisiana, upon the Relation of Pere' Louis 
Hennepin, a Recollect, who has made a book of it, dedicated 
to King William."* 

That this action of Hennepin's actually took place seems 
to be incontrovertible, from the fact that when the good friar 
wished to return to America, Louis XIV sent the following 
despatch to Callieres, then governor of Canada: 

His majesty has been informed that Father Hennepin, a Dutch 
Franciscan, who has formerly been in Canada, is desirous of returning 
thither. As his majesty is not satisfied with the conduct of the friar, 
it is his pleasure, if he return thither, that they arrest him and send 
him to the Intendant of Rochefort. 

Still later Father Charlevoix said of Hennepin's writings: 

All these works are written in a declamatory style, which offends 
by its turgidity and shocks by the liberties which the author takes 
and his unbecoming invectives. As for the substance of matters 
Father Hennepin thought he might take a traveler's license, hence 
he is much decried in Canada, those who had accompanied him haviug 
often protested that he was anything but veritable in his histories. 

In recent years there have been apologists of the Franciscan 
priest who claim that his statements are both truthful and 
accurate. Notable among these are John Gilmary Shea and 
Archbishop Ireland. In 1SS0 Mr. Shea published a transla- 
tion into English of Hennepin's "Discovery of Louisiana.'' 
from which several of the citations in this paper are copied. 
In his preface to that work he says: 

Doubts thrown upon Hennepin by the evident falsity of a later 
work bearing his name, have led to a general charge of falsehood 
against him. In justice to him, it must be admitted that there are 
grounds for believing that his notes were adapted by an unscrupulous 
editor, and the second book altered even after it was printed. 

The claim is made that Hennepin's narrative is truthful, 
and that the inconsistencies and differences between the first 

•Smith's History of WlaeOMln, vol. T. p. S1& 


and subsequent editions of his work are caused by unauthor- 
ized interpolations by the editor. Shea, after dwelling at 
length on the various phases of this question, says : 

To sum up all, tbe case stands thus: "The Description of Louisiana," 
by Father Hennepin, is clearly no plagiarism from La Salle's account, 
and on the contrary the so called La Salle Relation is an anonymous 
undated plagiarism from Hennepin's book, arid moreover the Descrip- 
tion of Louisiana is sustained by contemporary evidence and by the 
topography of the country, and our knowledge of the language and 
manners of the Sioux. It shows vanity in its author, but no falsifica- 
tion. So far as it goes, it presents Hennepin as truthful and accurate. 

A later work shows a suppression after printing, introduction of 
new and untrue matter, and the evident hand of an ignorant editor. 
For this book as finally published, Hennepin cannot be held responsi- 
ble, nor can he justly be stigmatized as mendacious by reason of its 
false assertions. 

The third book is evidently by the same editor as the second, and 
the defence which it puts forward in Hennepin's name cannot alter 
the facts, or make the original author responsible. 

In view of all this, it seems that now at least the case of Hennepin 
should be heard with more impartiality; and we call for a rehearing in 
the view of documents now accessible, under the conviction that our 
earlier judgments were too hasty. 

Shea, in his "Discovery and Exploration of the Missis- 
sippi," published in 1852, was a severe critic of Hennepin. His 
explanation of the new view taken in 1SS0 does not seem to 
me sufficient. 

Archbishop Ireland follows the same line of reasoning 
as Shea, and contends for the general truthfulness of Henne- 
pin's books. In an address before this society at the "Henne- 
pin Bi-Centennary," in 18S0, he said : 

Hennepin's book had made much noise in France. Utrecht was I 
great literary center. It is very easy to suppose, then, basing our verdict 
upon the facts which I have put before you, that the second volume, 
the one published at Utrecht, was made up, and published, not by 
Hennepin, but by some stranger, some man who had adopted the 
principal part of the Paris edition, adding on certain Dotations, which 
he got from Le Clercq's "Establishment of Christianity" Kb the new- 
world, to bring it up, so to speak, to date. * 

With reference to the interpolations about the dfscoverj 
and exploration of the lower Mississippi, the same author said 
further in this address: 

•Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. VI, p. TO. 


The very matter of these ten pages shows that they were inter- 
polated. The pages tell us that Hennepin was at the mouth of the 
Arkansas on the 24th of April, and yet, in the following pages, he is 
said to have been captured, near the Wisconsin, on the 24th day of 
April, the date according to the Paris edition. Besides, in these ten 
pages it is stated that Easter Sunday occurred on the 23rd of March. 
Now, Hennepin could never have made such an error. In 1680, Easter 
Sunday occurred on the first of April, and it is so stated in Hennepin's 
first volume. These are very significant facts, which cannot be over- 
looked, and when we take them all into consideration, together with 
the general appearance of this second volume, when we remember him 
as the scholar and close observer which the Paris volume shows him 
to Have been, w'hen we remember the habits of literary piracy that 
were then common in Europe, have we not solid foundations for saying 
that it cannot be proven that Father Louis Hennepin wrote and pub- 
lished, himself, the second volume? This Utrecht volume is the one 
upon which all the accusations against him have been based, and once 
take away from it Hennepin's name, there is no ground whatever to 

Let us examine, on the other hand, some of the critical 
estimates of Francis Parkman, an American historian, who 
has, more carefully than any other man, examined all the evi- 
dence on this vexed question. He says: 

Hennepin's first book was published soon after his return from his 
travels, and while La Salle was still alive. In it, he relates the accom- 
plishment of the instructions given him, without the smallest intima- 
tion that he did more. Fourteen years after, when La Salle was dead, 
he published another edition of his travels, in which he advanced a 
new and surprising pretension. Reasons connected with his personal 
safety, he declares, before compelled him to remain silent; but a time at 
length has come when the truth must be revealed. And he proceeds 
to affirm that, before ascending the Mississippi, he, with his two men, 
explored its whole course from the Illinois to the sea, thus anticipating 
the discovery which forms the crowning laurel of La Salle. 

"I am resolved," he says, "to make known here to the whole world 
the mystery of this discovery, which I have hitherto concealed, that I 
might not offend the Sieur de la Salle, who wished to keep all the 
glory and all the knowledge of it to himself. It is for this that he 
sacrificed many persons whose lives he exposed, to prevent them from 
making known what they had seen, and thereby crossing Ins tecret 
plans. . . 

He then proceeds to recount, at length, the particular* of his alleged 
exploration. The story was distrusted from tho first.* Why had ho 

•See the preface of the Spanish translation by Don Bsbasttaa Fernando* 
de Mcdrano, 1009, and also tho letter of Gravter, dated 1701. | n Bhsa'S 

Kariy voyagtH on th< lfi««(ttippi. Barcla, Charlevoix ECalm, and other early 

writers, put a low value on Hennepin's veracity. 


not told it before? An excess of modesty, a lack of self-assertion, or a 
too sensitive reluctance to wound the susceptibilities of others, had 
never been found among his foibles. Yet some, perhaps, might have 
believed him, had he not, in the first edition of his book, gratuitously 
and distinctly declared that he did not make the voyage in question. 
"We had some designs," he says, °of going down the river Colbert 
[Mississippi] as far as its mouth; but the tribes that took us prison- 
ers gave us no time to navigate this river both up and down." 

. . . . Six years before Hennepin published his pretended dis- 
covery, his brother friar, Father Chretien Le Clercq, published an 
account of the Recollect missions among the Indians, under the title of 
"Etablissement de la Foi." This book was suppressed by the French 
government; but a few copies fortunately survived. One of these is 
now before me. It contains the journal of Father Zenobe Membre, 
on his descent of the Mississippi In 1681, in company with La Salle. 
The slightest comparison of his narrative with that of Hennepin is 
sufficient to show that the latter framed his own story out of incidents 
and descriptions furnished by his brother missionary, often using his 
very words, and sometimes copying entire pages, with no other altera- 
tions than such as were necessary to make himself, instead of La 
Salle and his companions, the hero of the exploit. The records of 
literary piracy may be searched in vain for an act of depredation more 
recklessly impudent. 

Justin Winsor says that some time after Hennepin pub- 
lished his first book, according to his own story, he incurred 
the displeasure of the Provincial of his Order, and that he 
was so pursued by his superior that in the end he threw him- 
self on the favor of William III, of England, whom he had 
met at the Hague. This was doubtless the reason of his dedi- 
cating his later book to the English king. The same author 
goes on to say that on both of the maps published with this 
edition (1G97) the Mississippi river is marked as continuing 
to the Gulf. This change was made to explain an interpola- 
tion in the text taken from Menibrd's journal of La Salle's de- 
scent of the Mississippi. 

The explanation made by the apologists of nennepin that 
the literary piracy was committed, not by Hennepin, but by 
"some stranger" or ignorant editor, is weak and unsatisfac- 
tory. At no time subsequent to the publication of the su p- 
posed spurious editions did Hennepin ever disavow the au- 
thorship of the boo];, or that part of if containing his pre- 
tended discovery of (he lower Mississippi. He could DO< but 
have known of these fabrications, because these books were 


widely published and distributed in Europe long prior to his 
death. He has left on record no word of denial as to their 
authenticity and correctness. While he may not have been 
able to stop the publication of pirated and false editions of 
his works, the least he could be expected to do was to leave 
on record his formal protest against the unwarranted use of 
his name in publishing to the world pretended discoveries 
which he never made. 

On the other hand, when these later and interpolated edi- 
tions appeared, and when doubts had arisen at that time as 
to the genuineness and veracity of the narrative, Hennepin, 
addressing the reader, says: "I here protest to you, before 
God, that my narrative is faithful and sincere, and that you 
may believe everything related in it." This testimony from 
his own pen is certainly convincing. When you couple this 
with the fact that the French authorities had received orders 
for his arrest as soon as he should reappear in Canada, which 
orders were based on the dedication of one of his subsequent 
interpolated books to the king of England, and the facts grow- 
ing out of an English alliance, we are forced to the conclusion 
that in all the editions subsequent to the first, Hennepin was, 
as Parkman calls him, "the most impudent of liars;'' and that 
these adapted narratives are, to use again the same historian's 
words, "a rare monument of brazen mendacity."* While I be- 
lieve that the account contained in the first book published by 
Hennepin in 1GS3 is, in the main, truthful and accurate, bar- 
ring his boasting and vainglorious statements, I am at the 
same time forced to concur in the conclusion of Edward D. 
Neill, a former secretary of this society, that "nothing has 
been discovered to change the verdict of two centuries; that 
Louis Hennepin, Recollect Franciscan, was deficient in Chris- 
tian manhood." 

•La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, p. 123. 

Vol-. JX. PLATE IV. 

TO THE YEAR 1870.* 


When we take into account, in this rapidly advancing age, 
the many years, and I may say centuries, since the vast wealth 
and resources afforded to man by the great lake Superior and 
the country surrounding it became known, their settlement 
and development seem surprisingly slow. 

While trading posts, missionary stations, and other small 
settlements, had been made within the boundaries of north- 
eastern Minnesota at different dates, from the first advent of 
the white man in 1059, yet the first effort as to settlement of 
any part of that region, by the building of towns and cities, 
was not made until about the year 1854; after a lapse of near- 
ly two hundred years, since the visit of the intrepid explorers, 
Groseilliers and Radisson, who are said to have been the first 
white men to visit Minnesota. 


Next in line of those early worthies, we have that noble 
and intrepid soldier and leader, Daniel Greyselon Du Lhut, a 
native of France and a prominent and influential man. That 
name (Du Luth, as it is better spelled in English) is destined 
to exist as long as the city which bears it as its name shall 
continue as the great commercial gateway of Minnesota and 
the Northwest. 

•Presented and read in part at the monthly meeting of tho r.xoeutlvo 
Council, May 0, IS'AS. Tins paper, In a somewhat more extended l\>im, was 
later published by the Duluth News Tribune, as a series of articles begin* 

ninR June 12 and ending August 21, 1898; and these were united and pub- 
lished from the same type, as a pamphlet, in November, 1894 under tho 
auspices of the Duluth Historical and Sclentltlc Association. 


Some prominent merchants of Quebec and Montreal, with 
the support of the governor of Canada, formed a company in 
1678, and- organized an expedition for the purpose of con- 
tinuing the trade among the Indians in Xew France which 
had already been opened by Oroseilliers and others in the 
preceding twenty years, but which for a time had been in- 
terrupted. Du Luth, being a prominent man and an officer 
of the governor's guards, was chosen as leader of the expedi- 
tion. An ordinance or law promulgated by the governor of 
Canada then existed against trading with the Sioux; "the 
king's subjects were forbidden to go into the remote forests 
there to trade with the Indians." This ordinance was issued, 
doubtless, for the reason of the dangers to which the traders 
and missionaries would be exposed in consequence of the 
bloody strife that existed between some bands of the Sioux 
and the Ojibways of the country bordering the lake. How- 
ever, the temptation was so great to procure the furs, not- 
withstanding the law and the hostility of the Indians, that the 
governor general, who was probably an interested party in 
the scheme, winked at the contraband trade. It is probable, 
also, that among the Indians there was some hostility to the 
trade, for it is related that Eandin visited the extremity of 
lake Superior and distributed presents to them in the name of 
Frontenac, the governor, to secure their favor and to open a 
way for Du Luth and his party to trade with them. 

Du Luth started on his mission with a party of seventeen 
Frenchmen and three Indians, on the 1st of September, 1G7S. 
In the spring of 1G79, after wintering with his party in the 
woods about nine miles from the Sault Ste Marie, he wrote 
to Frontenac that he would remain in the Sioux country until 
further orders, and that, when peace was concluded, he 
would set up the king's arms, lest the English and other 
Europeans who settled toward California should take pos- 
session of the country. 

There has been so much written relating to Du Luth that 
I will forbear giving an extended account of his life and 
services. Suffice it to say that lie was a leader of men, a man 
of unblemished moral character and undaunted courage, a 
hater of the whisky traffic among the Indians, a resolute and 
true soldier, and a fearless supporter and vindicator of law 
and order. 



It is believed by many that Du Luth established the first 
trading post at the head of lake Superior, but the writer can 
find no definite record of the fact. There can be no doubt 
but that he visited and traded with the Indians at Fond du Lac, 
and that he also traveled over the canoe route and portages 
between Fond du Lac and Sandy lake. 


Jean Baptiste Cadotte, a man of influence and possessed 
of a liberal education, in the year 1792 was employed by the 
Northwest Fur Company, and was in charge of the Fond du 
Lac post. The country tributary to this post comprised the 
sources of the Mississippi, St. Croix and Chippewa rivers. The 
depot or post was then located about three miles above the en- 
try of the St. Louis river, on the Wisconsin shore of Superior 
bay, where that part of the present city of Superior known 
as Roy's Addition is situated. This post or fort was a col- 
lecting point. It was surrounded with strong cedar pickets 
driven into the ground, the burnt ends of many of which re- 
mained projecting from the earth in 1855, and were many 
times seen by the writer. The Fond du Lac of those early 
times was known, in translation to English, as the Head of 
the Lake. 

Several of the buildings of the Fond du Lac trading post, 
as it was later occupied by the American Fur Company, on 
the northern side of the St. Louis river, in Minnesota, were 
yet in existence and in a good state of preservation in 1855, 
and for many years thereafter. 

In 1854 and 1855, when the great rush came for the con- 
trol or a share in the site of the future great city at the head 
of the lake, Fond du Lac was the only place having a name 
as a town or village. It was looked upon by the early pioneers 
of St. Faul as a place of much importance, as the lake pert 
for Minnesota. Our old pioneer, Gen. William Gh Le Due, now 
of Hastings, Minn., in his Minnesota Year Book for 1S51, pub 
lished at St. Paul, thus mentions it: "Fond du Lac is a veiy 
old settlement on the St. Louis river, twenty-two miles from 
its entrance into lake Superior. Pond da Lac is destined to 
be a place of great importance, its situation making it the 
lake port of Minnesota. Steamboats ami vessels find no dif- 



ficulty in ascending the St. Louis to Fond du Lac." The gen- 
eral's prophecy is now verified, as it is a part of the city of Du- 


On the 5th day of August, 1826, Gov. Lewis Cass and T. 
L. McKinney, commissioners appointed by the United States 
government, met with the Ojibway Indians at Fond du Lac, 
Minn., and concluded the first formal treaty with these In- 
dians. It is related that a few days earlier, on the 28th of 
July, 1826, the commissioners approached this trading post 
in their barges, with flying colors and music, and then, for the 
first time, the Ojibways of that region heard the tune "Hail, 
Columbia." The principal effect of that treaty was to give 
the United States the right to explore for and carry away any 
metals or minerals that might be found along the country 
bordering the lake. 

In August, 1847, by a treaty concluded at Fond du Lac, by 
J. A. Verplanck and Henry M. Rice, as the commissioners on 
the part of the United States, all of the land west and south- 
west from the head of the lake was ceded to the United 
States. And in September, 1854, by the treaty made at La 
Pointe, Wis., the remainder of the country along the north 
shore of the lake and the northern boundary of the state was 


Here I desire to refer to some legislation in the early days 
of the Territory of Minnesota, relating to the formation of 
counties in the northern part of our state. Itasca county, 
established by an act of the first territorial legislature, ap- 
proved October 27, 1S49, embraced that part of Minnesota 
bordering on lake Superior and reaching west to the upper 
Mississippi river and the Lake of the Woods. It was quite 
large enough for a good-sized state. From this area were 
subsequently carved out three whole counties, St. Louis, Lake, 
and Cook, and parts of Aitkin ami Beltrami, Leaving (he 
county of Itasca yet large enough to make several fair siied 

St. Louis county was established by acts of the territorial 

legislature which were approved March 8, 1866, and March 1, 


1856. It takes its name from the St. Louis river, the largest 
entering lake Superior, which flows through this county. It 
had a population of only 406 in the year 1860, and 4,561 in 
1870; but in 1S95, according to the state census, its population 
was 78,575. This county comprises an area of 6,611.75 square 
miles, being the largest one of the eighty-two counties of this 

An earlier county that had included this area, named Su- 
perior county, established by the territorial legislature on 
February 20th, 1855, was imperfectly defined. Its name was 
changed to St. Louis by the acts of 1S55 and 1856. 


On October 20th, 1S49, the territorial 'legislature memo- 
rialized Congress for the construction of a road from Point 
Douglas, at the mouth of the St. Croix, by way of Cottage 
Grove, Stillwater, and Marine Mills, passing near the falls of 
the St. Croix, and crossing Snake river near Pokegama lake, 
and thence continuing on the most practicable route to the 
falls of the St. Louis river. On November 1st, 1849, the ter- 
ritorial legislature memorialized Congress, "That the con- 
venience and interest of the people of the Territory would 
clearly justify the establishment of a mail route from the 
Falls of St Croix by way of Pokegama to Fond du Lac, the 
head of lake Superior." The memorial further represented 
that the distance from the falls of the St. Croix to Fond du 
Lac was* but a little more than a hundred miles, that the 
country was being rapidly settled along the first half of the 
route, and that a large settlement already existed at Fond 
du Lac, where the inhabitants were destitute of mail facilities. 

In 1S54, through the efforts of our delegate in Congress. 
Hon. Henry M. Rice, an appropriation of money was obtained 
from Congress for constructing the proposed road, and the 
mail route was also established. Unfortunately, however, the 
point designated in the memorials as the northern end of both 
the road and mail route was cheated out of any direct benefit, 
because when opened and used they ended eight Off ten miles 
from Fond du Lac, the intended terminus of both. The pee 
pie interested in Superior City, VYis. (then to be the great city 

of destiny at the head of Lake Superior), concluded that it N\as 



' t 

the Fond du Lac mentioned in the memorials. It may be that 
they were then debating upon the propriety of naming the 
embryo city Fond du Lac, as a compliment to the old trading 
post which fifty years before had been removed from Wiscon- 
sin to the head of navigation on the St. Louis river where it 
became Fond du Lac, Minnesota. However this was, the 
Superior people, who were at this time largely made up of 
St. Paul hustlers, decided that they would not lose the ter- 
minus of this road and mail route; so in January, 1854, they 
organized a force of choppers and set them at work in cutting 
out a winter road on the proposed line from Superior to what 
was then known as Chase's camp, on the St. Croix rher, a 
distance of about fifty or sixty miles. This road was then 
blazoned on maps as the "Military Road" from Point Douglas 
to Superior. At the session of Congress in that year an ap- 
propriation of §20,000 was granted for opening this road, and 
subsequently other appropriations were granted by Congress 
for completing it. Through the controlling influence at 
Washington and St. Paul of those interested in Superior, that 
town maintained its supremacy as the coming great city for 
■ about twelve years, until, in 1S66, Minnesota woke up to her 
great interest at the head of lake Superior and active steps 
were taken for the construction of the Lake Superior and Miss- 
issippi railroad to Duluth. 


A biographic sketch of Rev. Edmund F. Ely, the pioneer 
teacher and missionary at Fond du Lac, whom I knew well 
during twenty years, has been written for me by his son, 
Henry S. Ely, of Duluth, as follows: "Edmund Franklin Ely 
was born at Wilbraham, Mass., August 3rd, 1809, and died in 
Santa Rosa, California, August 29th, 1882. He made profession 
of religion in Rome, N. Y., in 1827. In 1828 he Commenced 
study with a view of the gospel ministry. Dependent upon 
his own efforts for the means of defraying his necessary ex- 
penses, he devoted part of his time to teaching 

In 1S32 the American Board of Foreign Missions established 
mission stations on lake Superior, and Mr, Ely, whose health 
at that time was poor, accepted their invitation to ^o to that 

country as an assistant teacher. He was subsequently ap 


pointed teacher and catechist, expecting to return in two 
years to resume his studies, but the way never opened for his 
return. He left Albany, N. Y., July 5th, 1833. On reaching 
Mackinaw, he found that the missionaries who had preceded 
him had departed with a company of Indian traders. He was 
forwarded by Henry R. Schoolcraft, then the Indian agent, 
and in three days overtook the boats on lake Superior. At 
that time there were no vessels on that lake. Mr. Ely was 
assigned to the branch of the mission among the Ojibways of 
the upper Mississippi, under the directon of Rev. William T. 
Boutwell, and proceeded to Sandy lake, where, after a short 
time, he was left by Mr. Boutwell, with the joint duties of 
missionary and teacher resting upon him. In the summer of 
1834 the school was removed from Sandy lake to Fond du 
Lac, a village on the St. Louis river at the head of navigation, 
where a school house had been built by Mr. Ely. In 1S35 a 
reinforcement of teachers was sent by the mission board. 
One of them, Miss Catherine Gonlais, soon became the wife of 
Mr. Ely. Here they labored until May, 1839, when they re- 
moved to Pokegama In a letter written by Mr. 

Ely in 1881, he says: i When I first entered the mission work 
at lake Superior, that portion of the country was included in 
the Territory of Michigan. After Michigan was admitted as 
a state, the Territory of Wisconsin was organized, Minne- 
sota at that time being Indian territory. The first party of 
white men I saw were lumbermen engaged in their business 

on the waters of the St. Croix, in the year 1S3S 

The Indian titles to lands about the head of lake Superior 
were not extinguished till 1854. At that time we had left 
the mission and removed to St. Paul, but, being thoroughly 
conversant with the country, I went to lake Superior, took 
up lands where the town of Superior was located, and assisted 
in surveying and laying out the town. In 1855 the Indian 
title was extinguished on the Minnesota side of the harbor, 
and I went over there and laid out (he town of Oneota as a 
commercial site, built a steam mill and docks, and held the 
position of postmaster for six years, also that of notary pub- 
lic under the governor of the Territory. The financial reverses 
of 1857 rendered our property valueless, and in LSC2 we re- 
turned to St. Paul.' " 


Fond du Lac, now a part of the City of Duluth, was the 
only mission station established in that part of Minnesota 
bordering lake Superior. Besides Mr. and Mrs. Ely, other 
missionaries and teachers were located there. In the year 
1840 the Methodist denomination sent missionaries and teach- 
ers among the O jib ways of the lake region and northern Min- 
nesota. In 1841 George Copway, an Ojibway, his wife, who 
was a white woman, her sister, and James Simpson, were en- 
gaged in the mission work at Fond du Lac. It would seem 
that soon after this, for some cause many of the Indians must 
have left Fond du Lac, as we learn that in 1S49 Kev. J. W. 
Holt and his wife, the last missionaries we see any mention of 
at Fond du Lac, had only twenty-eight scholars enrolled in 
their school, with an average attendance of only fifteen. 

The first marriage we learn of as having been performed 
in accordance with the Christian and civilized form, and as 
taking place at Fond du Lac, within what is at present the 
city of Duluth, was that of Rev. W. T. Boutwell (one of those 
early missionaries) to Hester Crooks, on the 11th day of Sep- 
tember, 1834. Hester Crooks was the daughter of Ramsay 
Crooks, a prominent fur trader, and an Indian mother. Miss 
Crooks had been a teacher at the mission station at Yellow 
Lake, Wisconsin, and probably was a graduate of the mission 
boarding school at Mackinaw. 


Before Duluth was platted or had occasion for a name, on 
the first Tuesday in October, 1S55, there was held the tirst 
election in St. Louis county. The election was for a delegate 
to represent the Territory in Congress. 

The election for all Minnesota at the head of the lake was 
held in the log house or "claim shanty," as such buildings 
were commonly called, owned by George E. Nettleton as a 
trading house or post, situated on the main land near the base 
of Minnesota point, about 400 feet from the shore of the lake, 
and about 150 feet east of First avenue east in the present 
city of Duluth. The house was one-story, about fourteen by 

eighteen feet, ami seven feel high ai the sides; ii had a ICOOp d 
log roof, one door and one window. This log house was built 


by Mr. Nettleton before the treaty with the Ojibway Indians 
at La Pointe in September, 1854. 

On the morning of the day of the election, the writer, 
living, like the majority at that time, in Superior, but claim- 
ing a residence on their land claims in Minnesota, left Oneota, 
now a part of Duluth, in a row-boat, in company with eight 
or nine other voters, for the voting place, a distance- of about 
four miles by land or seven by water. There was then not 
even a trail by land between Oneota and Nettleton's claim, 
where now the electric street car makes the run in fifteen min- 
utes. Had we then taken the land route, the density of the for- 
est, the crossing of streams, and the climbing of rocky ridges 
would have compelled us, even if we reached the polling place 
in time to vote, to camp out over night before our return. 
None of the party were then acquainted with the extent and 
intricacies of the marsh which skirted the base of Minnesota 
point and the head of Superior bay; so we concluded to land 
on Minnesota point at the old Indian burying place, about three 
miles from the voting place. There we left our boat and 
walked up along the lake shore to the place where we exercised 
the sovereign right of the American citizen. 

On arriving at Nettleton's "claim shanty," we found a 
cosmopolitan congregation, made up principally, however, of 
Yankees, Buckeyes, Kentuckians, Wolverines, Badgers, etc., 
not forgetting Canadians, French, Irish, Dutch, and Scandi- 
navians, with a fair representation of the Ojibways, minus the 
blanket, but bedecked with coat and pants, as an evidence of 
their qualification to vote. My recollection is that 105 votes 
were polled, 9G for Henry M. Rice, the Democratic candidate, 
and 9 for William R. Marshall, the opposition or Republican 
candidate. From that election may be dated the birth of the 
Republican party in the state. 

At that time, from Superior, Wis., radiated nearly all of 
the squatters upon unsurveyed lands, in both Minnesota ami 
Wisconsin. The people in Superior at that time and for Bome 
years after, took more interest in elections and political mat- 
ters in Minnesota than they did in their own state. Superior 
was then the politico] headquarters for figuring and Laying 
out plans for an election to an office from northeastern Min- 




Reuben B. Carlton, after whom Carlton county was Darned, 
was the first farmer and blacksmith sent among the Indians 
of Minnesota. He came to Fond du Lac about the year 1S49. 
After the adoption of the state constitution in August, 
1857, at the election for members of the state legislature 
in October following, Mr. Carlton was elected to the 
first state senate, and John S. Watrous to the first house of 
representatives. Mr. Carlton was part owner of the townsite 
of Fond du Lac, and was one of the first trustees of that town 
under the act of its incorporation in 1S57. The other trustees 
were Alexander Paul, now deceased; D. George Morrison, then 
and now living at Superior, Wis.; J. B. Culver, then living at 
Duluth; and Francis Roussain, living at Fond du Lac. Mr. 
Carlton owned about eighty acres on the St. Louis river, ad- 
joining Fond du Lac, on which he resided until his death, De- 
cember 6th, 1863. 

Mr. Watrous came to the head of the lake from Ashtabula 
county, Ohio, with George E. and William Xettleton. He 
was then young, and a man of more than ordinary attainments 
and force of character. Although a new member, he was 
elected as speaker of the first house of representatives. He 
was appointed register of the United States land office at 
Buchanan, St. Louis county, in March, 1859, and held that 
office until January, 1S60. He then returned to Ohio. He 
died in California in 1S97. 

In the next session of the state legislature, in 1860, St. 
Louis, Lake, and Carlton counties, constituting the Twenty- 
sixth legislative district, were represented by Thomas Clark 
as senator, and William Nettleton as representative. Mr. 
Clark was a civil engineer. He came from Toledo to Superior, 
Wis., in 1854, and was employed by the Superior Townsite 
Company to survey and plat that city. It was customary in 
those days with the residents of Superior to live in Minnesota 
on a claim or townsite. Like other Inhabitants of thai city in 
those days, Mr. Clark became interested in the location of cities 
and towns in Minnesota, and therefore concluded that he ought 
also to have all the benefit of an actual resident in 1857 lie be- 
came interested in the location of Heaver Bay, in Lake county. 


which was, in May of that year, incorporated by special act of 
the territorial legislature, by designating the location only as 
"the territory as surveyed by Thomas Clark" in Lake county. 
When elected in 1859, he claimed Beaver Bay as his residence. 
Mr. Clark died in Superior some years ago. He was a good 
and upright citizen and a faithful representative of Minnesota 
in the legislature. 

William- Nettleton, who a few years ago was an honored 
citizen of St. Paul, but is now a resident of Spokane Falls, 
Wash., and his brother George E. Xettleton, now deceased, 
came to Superior, Wis., in the winter of 1S53--54, with the St. 
Paul colony, which was composed in part of Hon. R. R. Xel- 
son, D. A. J. Baker, Col. D. A. Robertson, B. W. Branson, R, F. 
Slaughter, and others. The Nettletons took part in the set- 
tlement of Superior, and in 1855, with Col. J. B. Culver, were 
carrying on a large grocery, provision, and general supply 
store there. In 1858 William Nettleton became an actual 
resident of Duluth, or at least of that part of it then known 
as his preemption claim. He was the first person to file a 
preemption statement in the United States land office at 
Buchanan. He proved up his claim and obtained title on 
August 10th, 1858, to the southwest quarter of the southeast 
quarter of section 22, and the northeast quarter of the north- 
west quarter and the northwest quarter of the northeast quar- 
ter of section 27, all in township 50, range 14, now a part of 
the First division of Duluth. In the winter of 1853-'54, George 
E. IS'ettleton obtained from the Indian Department of the gov- 
ernment a trader's license, under which he acquired title to 
lots 2 and 3 and the southeast quarter of the northwest quar- 
ter and the southeast quarter of the southwest quarter of 
section 27, township 50, range 14, being the remainder of that 
part of Duluth known as the First Division. 

When the crash came and the bottom fell out of the first 
"boom" in Superior, in 1857, George E. NettletOD loft and 
returned to Ohio, where he resided until his death a few- 
years ago. 

William Nettleton, with his family, continued an honored 
resident of Duluth, aiding materially in its growth ami de- 
velopment, until aboul the year L878, when thej removed to 
St. Paul. 


At the session of the legislature in 1860, of which Messrs. 
Clark and Xettleton were members, a new apportionment 
was made, reducing the number of members from thirty-seven 
in the senate and sixty-nine in the house, to twenty-one in the 
senate and forty-two in the house. In this change, St. Louis, 
Lake, and Carlton counties were put in the Third district, 
with sixteen other counties of northern Minnesota. These 
counties comprised, in area, almost half of the state, and were 
entitled to only one senator and three representatives. This 
was a severe blow to the future prospects, as far as legisla- 
tive aid and assistance was concerned, of northeastern Min- 
nesota. The lake counties, being comparatively without 
votes, remained without a member of the legislature for ten 
years, and they had to pay for a substitute member if they 
desired any legislation. During these ten years the counties 
of Stearns, Crow Wing, and Morrison, having the most votes, 
controlled and monopolized the election of all the members 
of the legislature from the district. In 1871 they permitted 
the lake counties to have one representative in the house. 
In November, 1870, Luke Marvin of Duluth was elected a 
member of the house, and took his seat on January 3rd, 1S71. 
[At this session of the legislature, northeastern Minnesota was 
more fittingly recognized. A new apportionment was adopted, 
enlarging the membership of both houses, to forty-one in the 
senate and one hundred and six in the house. St. Louis, 
Lake, Carlton, Itasca, and Cass counties constituted the Twen- 
ty-ninth district, entitling them to one senator and one rep- 

Luke Marvin, now deceased, with whose name I will con- 
clude my reference to members of the legislature as such, was 
born in Leicestershire, England, in 1820. He came to the 
United States in 1842. lie removed from Cincinnati to St. 
Paul in 1850, where he engaged for about eleven years in the 
boot and shoe business, both wholesale and retail, lie was 
for a term or two, a member of the common council of that 
city, and part of the time president of that body. In 1861 
he was appointed by President Lincoln as register of the 
United states land office ai Portland (Duluth), ami moTed to 

Duluth with his family in 18C1. Ho served as resistor for 
eight years; he also, during most of that time, held the office 


of county auditor for the county of St. Louis. On becoming 
a resident of Duluth he at once took an active part in the 
advancement of the interests of Duluth and St. Louis county. 
Having a large acquaintance with leading men in St. Paul and 
other parts of the state, he soon became quite efficient and in- 
fluential in promoting the location and the active construction 
of the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad from St. Paul 
to Duluth. In the year 1855, when a resident of St. Paul, 
he, in connection with E. F. Ely, before referred to, and H. 
W. Wheeler, also one of the early pioneers of Minnesota, and 
now and from that time a resident of the present city of Du- 
luth, became interested in the location, settlement and devel- 
opment of the townsite of Oneota, which in those early days 
vied with Duluth as the "city of destiny" at the head of the 
lake in Minnesota. Mr. Marvin died an honored resident of 
Duluth on April 10th, 1880, leaving Mrs. Marvin and seven 
children, five sons and two daughters. 

Mr. Wheeler was the first who, as engineer and superin-. 
tendent, erected and operated a sawmill at the head of the 
lake. Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler are two of the very oldest and 
most respected residents of the city and county now left. 


"Clifton, Superior County, Minnesota Territory," as it is 
named by the record of its plat in the office of the register of 
deeds of St. Louis county, was platted by J. S. Watrous on 
October 31st, 1855. The survey was made by Richard Relf in 
October, 1855. It was the first townsite platted of land in 
St. Louis county. It was located on the north shore of lake 
Superior about nine or ten miles from Duluth. The plat of 
the townsite showed two long parallel piers or breakwaters 
extending for hundreds of feet into the lake, Indicating a 
commodious harbor; but it was all on paper; the name was 
the only existence that Clifton ever had. 

Early in the winter of 1S55-'5G, steps were taken for the 
platting of Duluth by George E. and William Xcttlcton. .1. B, 
Culver, and Orrin W. Hire, all of whom Hum liwd in Blip trior, 
and Robert E. Jefferson, wh<> resided as a squatter on the 
land covered by the plat of Upper and Lower Duluth. 00 

Minnesota point. This point, a beach formed bj the lake, is 


quite narrow, and over six miles long, forming a natural break- 
water which protects the harbor of Duluth and Superior from 
the. waters of the great lake. Through this beach, near its 
junction with the north shore, in 1870, the canal, as an en- 
trance to the harbor, was cut. 

In February, 185G, these gentlemen were canvassing anx- 
iously among some of the learned citizens of Superior for a 
suitable name for their embryo city of destiny. Rev. Joseph 
Gk Wilson of Logansport, Ind., then sojourning at Superior as a 
home missionary, under the home mission board of the Xew 
School Presbyterian Church, was appealed to, to suggest a 
name for the future city. Mr. Wilson, who that winter lived 
with the writer and his family,, informed me that he was 
promised two lots by the proprietors in the new town, in case 
he would suggest an appropriate name which they would ac- 
cept. He asked for any old books in my possession, which 
might mention the name of some early missionary or noted 
explorer in the lake Superior country, but I had then but a 
few books and not of the kind required. Mr. Wilson set about 
his task to earn the reward of the deed of the two lots in 
the great city. He visited the homes of citizens that he ex- 
pected might be possessed of a library, and in his search found 
among some old books belonging to George E. Nettleton, an 
old English translation of the writings of the French Jesuits, 
relating to themselves and the early explorers and fur traders 
of the Northwest. In this he ran across the name of Du 
Luth, along with others of those early traders and mission- 
aries who visited the head of the lake in the remote past. 
With other names, that of Du Luth was presented by Mr. 
Wilson to the proprietors at their meeting one evening In the 
home of George E. Nettleton, and after discussion of the 
relative merits of the several names submitted, the Dame Du 
Luth was selected. 

Mr. Wilson wrote an article giving a brief account of Du 
Luth, and his history, noting the fait that he was one of 
the earliest explorers who visited Minnesota and the head of 
lake Superior. That article was published in the Superior 
Chronicle, the first newspaper published at Superior, Wis. 
There was no public celebration or demonstration on Minne- 
sota point or anywhere else in honor of the adoption of the 



name, as some Duluth people have claimed. There was little 
or no thought at that time that Duluth would ever attain to 
the world-wide fame and rank which it now has. Superior 
was then generally regarded as the future great city to be 
at the head of the lake. Even Oneota then outranked Duluth 
and claimed to be the Minnesota city of destiny on the lake. 

In November, 1857, the writer abandoned Superior and 
located at Oneota, where he built a house and remained until 
December, 1865, when he moved to Duluth and occupied the 
Jefferson house (plate IV), without let or hindrance. All the 
houses then in Duluth were unoccupied, and had been so for 
three years, allowing the writer a perfect freedom of selection. 
The name Duluth, in 1865, was all that was left to the town 
on the point, and even that, with the post office, had been 
appropriated by Portland. 

In May, 1857, Duluth as then platted was incorporated 
as a town, by an act of the territorial legislature. William 
Nettleton, Joshua B. Culver, Robert E. Jetferson, Orrin YV. 
Rice, and William Ord, were constituted as a board of trustees, 
and designated as the town council of Duluth. On March 
1st, 1858, the townsite, as platted, was entered at the United 
States land office at Buchanan, by these trustees, under the 
act of Congress relating to the entry of townsites on govern- 
ment land. 

In 1S55 three other townsites were platted within the area 
of the present city of Duluth, and in 1857 they were incor- 
porated and boards of trustees appointed. These towns were 
Portland, Oneota, and Fond du Lac. James D. Ray, Clinton 
Markell, Daniel Shaw, X. B. Bobbins, John I. Post, Joseph 
Gregory, and Albert McAdams, composed the town council 
of Portland. 

Lewis H. Merritt, president, Win. E. Wright, recorder, and 
F. A. Buckingham, J. R. Carey, and Dwight Abbott, trustees, 
were the first town council of Oneota. Their first meeting 
was held on July 6th, 1859. 

In October of that year there was a town election by 
which Rev. .lames Peel (Methodist), E, P. Ely, Nels Larson, F, 
A. Buckingham, and .1. li. Carey, were elected trustees. Tin - 

were the trustees (hat entered the townsite at tin 1 United 

States land office and made a distribution of lots to the re 




spective owners. Oneota was the only one of the four towns 
that held an election for officers under their act of incorpora- 
tion of which there is any record. The writer is in possession 
of the original record of the proceedings of the meetings of 
that body up to August 17th, 1861, at which time it practically 
ceased to exist. F. A. Buckingham and the writer are the 
only survivors of either the first or second council. M>. Buck- 
ingham held and proved up on a preemption claim embracing 
the northeast quarter of section 33, township 50, range 14, 
now a part of Duluth proper, Second division. His claim 
shanty was located at Twelfth avenue west and Superior 
street. Mr. Buckingham is now a resident of Illinois. 

I have before referred to the names of the persons who 
composed the town council of Fond du Lac. These several 
bodies, under the congressional townsite law of 1844, "proved 
up" their townsite claims (to use a common phrase) at the 
United States land office, and paid for the land embraced in 
their several plats. 

Clinton Markell and the writer are the only representatives 
of the membership of any of those town councils now resi- 
dents of Duluth. Mr. Markell, in 1S5G, then a resident of 
Superior, became interested as one of the proprietors of Port- 
land. He aided materially in the early development of the 
town. He assisted in the location and construction of the 
Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad to Duluth, and came 
to live in Duluth in 1869. Two years afterward he was 
elected and served a term as mayor of the city, and is yet 
one of its active and public spirited citizens. 

Duluth, though narrow and point ed in its infancy, was 
possessed in a large degree of the power of absorption. It 
has swallowed up and is now in the process of assimilating 
six separate towns that had at one time municipal organisa- 
tion, first, Portland in 1870, then Lakeside in 1893, AYest Du- 
luth and Oneota in 1894, and New Duluth and Fond du Lac 
in 1895. There is now no more territory for Dnlutk to take 
in on the Minnesota side of the harbor, without climbing the 
hills, which she is rapidly doing. She has followed out her 
first start in extending in length rather than in width; so 
now there is nothing more for her to do but to cross (ho baj 
to a dead level, and broaden out in the middle by taking in all 

Minnesota Historical Society, Vol. IX. Plate IYa. 



Built by Roheut E. .Tk.fkkkson. 



the Superiors, on the other side. Would it not be a union that 
would be a benefit for both cities, should the future decree 
its accomplishment? 


Col. Joshua B. Culver, as an early resident of Duluth, de- 
serves more than a passing notice. He was born in Delaware 
county, New York, September 12th, 1829. He came to Min- 
nesota in 1848, and was engaged in the Indian trade on the 
upper Mississippi until 1S55, when he removed to Superior. 
Wisconsin. He remained there until 1857, when he removed 
to Duluth as one of its proprietors. He was that year ap- 
pointed the first postmaster of Duluth, and held this office 
in his residence on the point. He was also appointed by the 
governor the first clerk of the district court. In December, 
1859, after the United States land office, in May of that year, 
was removed from Buchanan to Portland, he was appointed 
register of that office, which position he held until the ap- 
pointment of Luke Marvin in May, 18G1. On the breaking 
out of the war of the rebellion, Mr. Culver removed to Michi- 
gan, where he helped to organize the Thirteenth Michigan 
regiment of volunteer infantry, with which he went as ad- 
jutant, and soon succeeded to its command as colonel. He 
served with his regiment through the war with the highest 
honors, being in the latter part of the war brigade command- 
er under Generals Buell, Rosecrans, and Thomas. After the 
close of the war, in 18G8, he returned to Duluth. In March, 
1869, he was appointed by the board of county commissioners 
the first county superintendent of schools. At Duluth's first 
city election, on April ith, 1S70, he was elected its first mayor, 
and continued as one of its most honored and leading citizens 
until his death on July 17th. 1883. 

Robert Emmet Jefferson, whose squatter's claim on Min- 
nesota point received the talismunic name •'Duluth," also de- 
serves mention. Mr. Jefferson in 1865, then a young num. 
not yet twenty-one years old, left his parental home Dear St 
Anthony Falls, Minn., for the head of lake Superior, hoping, 
doubtless, that he might "get in on the ground floor" in the 
rush to own all or a part of the great prospective city. He it 
"was that built the Aral frame house in Duluth, which 

known for many years as the Jefferson house. It was intended 


as a hotel or boarding house, and is yet in existence, as shown 
in Plate IV. In it was held the first session of the district 
court of St. Louis county. In 1869 the house was purchased 
by Dr. Thomas Foster, who had the year before removed from 
St. Paul to Duluth. The house was known for some years 
after as the "Foster house." It is yet where it was first built, 
on the lake side of Lake avenue south, about 500 feet north 
of the canal. Mr. Jefferson, in the sale of his claim to the 
parties who platted it as "Upper and Low T er Duluth," received 
some money, besides some interest in the town-site. He was 
married in 1859. In August, 1861, after the breaking out of 
the civil war he left Duluth, with his wife and baby girl, for 
his old home in St. Anthony Falls, going back by way of the 
Grand Portage of the Fond du-Lac, up the St. Louis and 
East Savanna rivers, down the West Savanna and Prairie 
rivers into Sandy lake, and down the Mississippi to St. An- 
thony. Before starting on their trip, Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson 
and baby stopped with the writer at Oneota while preparing 
for the journey. It was considered by all that it would 
be an extremely tedious and dangerous one for Mrs. Jefferson 
and the baby; yet there did not seem to be any other way for 
them to get out of the country. In that year, although there 
were not many people at the head of the lake, those who re- 
mained had very little left after the panic and bursting of the 
boom in 1857. There was no money in the country, nor any 
employment that would afford a living. It was one of those 
"fish and potato" years, when the people had to resort, in 
part at least, to the Indian style of living. Mr. Jefferson was 
without money, and therefore could not go around by the lake 
route, nor could he pay $35 fare by stage by way of the mili- 
tary road to St. Paul. He was not as well prepared for the 
trip as Du Luth was two hundred years before. Yet he con- 
cluded to undertake it. After a long and perilous journey, 
he safely reached his old home. On his arrival he found 
that his two younger brothers, Rufus H. and Ernest K. Jef- 
ferson, had left home and enlisted in the First Minnesota regi- 
ment to fight for the Union. 

Many citizens of Minnesota and all tin* people of Duluth 
are doubtless familiar with at leasl some of the history of 
Ernest R, Jefferson, lie was eighteen \(\u s of age When he 



entered the army, and lie went with the regiment until the 
greatest battle of the civil war, at Gettysburg, where he lost 
a leg. He came to reside in Duluth in 18G9, and has so con- 
tinued up to the present day. He is now a member of the 
city council, and has held other city and county offices at dif- 
ferent times. 

Soon after returning to his old home, Robert E. Jefferson 
also enlisted in the Union army, was taken sick, and died in 
the service during the early part of the war. Not long after 
the death of her husband, Mrs. Jefferson also died, leaving 
the little girl, Harriet A., who was born in June, 1860, in the 
Jefferson house in Duluth, being doubtless the first white child 
born in the old town of Duluth. Most probably also were 
she and her mother, the first and only white females, who 
made the 372-mile trip over the "Le Due" route, from St. 
Anthony to Lake Superior. She is now Mrs. L. A. Pink ham 
of Lake View, near Tacoma, Wash. I may say here, lest I 
may be called to account about the priority of birth in the 
present city of Duluth, that Miss Jefferson was not the first 
born in the territory now composing the city of Duluth; the 
writer's oldest daughter, Ida, now Mrs. C. T. Greenfield of 
Auburn, Cal., was born at Oneota on November 20th, 1857, 
and there may be others at Oneota or in other parts of the 
city whose births antedate Miss Jefferson's. 

James D. Eay, one of the proprietors and incorporators of 
of the town of Portland, came from Ohio to Superior, Wis., in 
185G, where he resided for three years. He then returned to 
Ohio, where he remained until the year I860, at which time 
he came back to Portland to live. On taking up his residence 
in Duluth, Mr. Ray became one of its most prominent and 
zealous citizens in promoting and developing its resources. 
He was ever generous and public-spirited, ne died a J his 
home in Duluth, at the age of seventy-three years, on the 
87th day of April, 1894, mourned by all who knew him. 

George R. Stuntz came to the head of the lake in the year 
1852, and during that year he surveyed and definitely located 
a portion of the northeastern boundary line between Minne- 
sota, and Wisconsin, starting from the head of navigation on 
the St. Louis river at Fond du Lac. and running south to the 
St. Croix river. Dc was born December 11th, 1820, In Albion. 


Erie county, Pennsylvania; was brought up on a small farm to 
the age of nineteen years, receiving a common-school education; 
and at twenty years continued his studies by attending Grand 
River Institute in Ohio, where he took a two years' course in 
mathematics, chemistry, engineering and surveying. Before 
coming to the head of the lake, Mr. Stuntz had been engaged 
as a deputy United States surveyor in surveying land in Wis- 
consin. He has probably surveyed more government land 
than any other man now living, as he has been engaged in 
that business for more than fifty years. His surveys have 
coA r ered principally the previously unknown parts of north- 
eastern Minnesota and Wisconsin. From important and val- 
uable information voluntarily supplied by him, many have be- 
come rich, while he, withal, in his old age, is poor, and well 
deserves a pension from the government. He platted many 
townsites, yet I know of none that he ever owned or in which 
,he was largely interested. He has been a continual resident 
of St. Louis county since 1S53, at that time locating at the 
lower end of Minnesota point, where he built a dock and 
warehouse, and where in 1855-'56 he carried on a forwarding 
and commission business under the name of G. R. Stuntz & 
Oo. In those years, Stuntz's dock on Minnesota point was the 
only landing place from steamboat and sail vessels for pas- 
sengers and freight destined for Superior, Wis., to which 
place they were shipped across the bay in Mackinaw boats. 
Mr. Stuntz came to live permanently in Dululh in 1S09, where 
he has since resided. He has held the office of county sur- 
veyor for several terms. 


History and experience would seem to indicate that, when- 
ever a new and unexplored region of country, or a point of 
natural commercial advantages where exists any hope of 
wealth or gain is brought to the knowledge of the American 
people, nothing can prevent in such country or location a 
boom, — a boom in population, a boom in wealth and values, 
and in fact a. boom in everything but in food, raiment, and 
good morals. It was so at the head of the lake from I s -.". I to 
1857. In the winter of L855-'5G food was short. [1 \\;is tOO 

soon for a. crop of potatoes, and the people lacked knowledge 



and experience in the art of catching fish and living on them. 
Toward spring in 185G, flour brought as high a price as fifty 
cents per pound at retail, but that figure was paid only for 
the contents of a few sacks that were packed on men's backs 
from "Chase's lumber camp," on the St. Croix river, a dis- 
tance of about sixty miles. Other food supplies were scarce 
and high in price, in proportion to flour. In the fall of 1857, 
the bottom, yes, and the top also, fell out of all the booms 
at Superior and at all other points at the head of the lake. 
Three-fourths of the people left the country, by every means of 
exit that were then available. Some, with gun and pack, 
"shot their way out." Some who had families, and who were 
without means to pay their passage on boats, were taken out 
free by the generous and charitable captains of the few steam- 
boats that in those days visited the head of the lake. Sound 
money, or any money, was then very valuable; a corner lot in 
Duluth was not worth a pair of boots. In October of 1S57 
the writer, then doing business in Superior, refused to trade 
two pairs of boots with Orrin W. Rice for two lots in the 
now famous city of Duluth. The writer believed that, in view 
of the approaching winter, the two pairs of boots were a better 
asset than the two lots. 

For about eight or ten years after this, the people that 
were left had to live by barter, by adopting more of the In- 
dian mode of making a living. They did not despise captur- 
ing the beaver, the mink and the muskrat, and they traded 
their furs for flour, pork, and other necessaries, which they 
were able to get in exchange from the few merchants and 
traders that were left in Superior. There were no stores 
then in Duluth or anywhere else on the north shore. The 
settlers on the north shore in Minnesota were compelled to go 
to Superior by boat in the summer and on the ice in winter 
for everything in the line of clothing and provisions, with the 
exception of what they could produce or capture at home. 

One of the first deaths at Duluth that I can now recall to 
mind was the drowning, in I860, of a young man by the name 
of Welter, who lived with his widowed mother and brother 
upon a preemption claim near Oneota, About the 12th of 
November, after St. Louis bay had frozen over, the ice being 
yet quite frail, young Welter was compelled to cross the bay 



in the morning to go to Superior for something which the fam- 
ily needed at home. On his return toward evening he broke 
through the thin ice. His body was recovered within two 
hours, by use of a boat, and efforts were made to bring him 
back to consciousness and life, but without avail. 


In the winter of lS56-'57 a small sawmill was erected at 
Duluth by the town site proprietors. It was situated where 
the canal is cut through the point. The mill was not a pay- 
ing enterprise, and after running it a year or two it was 

Oneota, with its immediate neighborhood, was from the 
start, in 1855 to 1869, the largest settlement on the north 
shore in Minnesota, In 1855, Wheeler, Ely, and their asso- 
ciates, built a good and fair-sized steam sawmill, adding to it 
in 1856-'57 a planer and lath, and shingle attachments. A 
mile above Oneota, in 1857, at what was then known as Mil- 
ford, another good steam sawmill was built by Henry C. 
Ford, of Philadelphia, Pa., now deceased, who held a preemp- 
tion claim of eighty acres at that point. This tract was sub- 
sequently platted as the Fourth division of West Duluth. In 
a year or two, to this mill was added a grist mill attachment, 
where the settlers who were industrious enough to raise any 
wheat or other grain had it ground. These two mills were 
kept in operation intermittently in sawing the pine on lands in 
the immediate vicinity until about the year 18GG, when they 
ceased running because of the total lack of any demand or 
market for lumber. Mr. Ford left the country and returned 
to Philadelphia about the year 1SG0. The Milford mill soon 
became a wreck, and it was finally destroyed by lire in L86& 
The mill at Oneota remained silent until about the year 1808, 
when it came into the hands of 11. S. M linger, then of St. Paul, 
who removed to Duluth in 1SG9, and in 1S70 the mill was 
destroyed by lire. 

From the year 1857 up to the year 1870 the surplus pro- 
duct of those two mills, and also salted flab, a few drovet of 

cattle driven through in the Bummer from the region of tin 1 

Mississippi to Superior, and what was loft of the products of 
the fur trade, comprised the articles of ox port from the head 


of lake Superior. I have no means of ascertaining the annual 
volume of those exports. The two sawmills were of a very 
moderate capacity. Each would cut no more than 20,000 to 
30,000 feet of a mixed class of lumber during a day of ten 
hours, while running steadily; and, considering delays from 
various causes, in a month the daily average would doubtless 
not exceed more than half that amount. When running stead- 
ily each mill employed from six to ten men. 


I am indebted to James Bardon, of Superior, Wis., and to 
Capt. J. J. Hibbard, one of the early pioneers of St. Louis 
county and the city of Duluth, and yet an honored resident, 
and also to Henry W. Wheeler, of Duluth, of whom mention 
has already been made, each of whom navigated lake Superior, 
for much of the information relating to early sailing vessels 
prior to 1870. The first schooner brought from the lower 
lakes across the portage at Sault Ste. Marie, was the Algon- 
quin. I am unable to learn at what date she was brought across. 
When she became known to the people at the head of the 
lake, in 1855, she was owned and commanded by a captain 
named Davidson. She sailed on lake Superior for a number 
of years. In November, 1857, she was chartered at Superior, 
Wis., by Captain Hibbard, to carry supplies to Burlington 
bay on the north shore, where he and his brother were about 
to erect a small sawmill. On her return to Superior she was 
laid up for the winter. The next season she was not again 
fitted out, but lay anchored in the bay, being unlit for further 
service. In the fall of 1S58 she was towed to the shore on the 
easterly side of Quebec pier at Superior, where she quietly 
rested until a fire that destroyed a part of the pier consumed 
the upper part of her hull. Some years ago the remains of the 
hull were removed from their watery and muddy bod. and 
some of its timbers were utilized in the shape of canes, which 
were presented to many of the old settlers at the head of the 
lake; and, to meet, a future demand in that line. 1 am told that 
an adequate supply of her remains Is yet preserved at Superior. 

The next beat owned at the head ef the l ike was the small 
propeller Seneca, belonging to Thomas Gh Barnes of BufM rier. 


She ran across the bays and to Fond du Lac until 1861, when 
she was taken to Ashland. 

The next was a scow schooner named Xeptune, hailing 
from some port on the lower lakes. She was owned 
by her captain. In 1SG0 she was engaged in the lumber 
trade, running from Oneota and Milford to Portage Lake and 
Marquette. On her first trip out in that year, freighted with 
a load of dry lumber from the Milford mill, starting down 
the lake, she was met by a northeaster and driven back, and 
in attempting to make the entry she ran ashore on the lower 
end of Minnesota point. The captain and crew were all 
saved. The captain hired some men at Superior and set 
them to work to pump her out and try and get her off the 
sand. After working at her for some time, the men reported 
to the captain that she had large fish in her hold, whereupon 
he sold the wreck to R. G. Coburn of Superior, who, the next 
day went with some men, and before noon had her off the 
sand and inside the bay. She was unloaded, hauled out on 
the point and thoroughly repaired, and was continued in 
use in the lumber trade from Oneota and Milford to points on 
the south shore. In 18G5 she was wrecked near Eagle river, 
while under command of Captain Matthews. 

Mr. Coburn, with H. M. Peyton, now a prominent and 
wealthy resident of Duluth and president of the American 
Exchange bank of Duluth, and E. Ingalls, now deceased, pur- 
chased at Oswego, on lake Ontario, another and larger schoon- 
er, named Pierrepont. Soon after her advent to the head of 
the lake on October 22nd, 1805, she, also, was driven ashore 
on the lower end of Minnesota point by a terrific northeaster. 
She was driven within a hundred feet of the bay shore on the 
inside of the point, but fortunately no lives were lost. While 
in that condition a number of attempts were made to get her 
off. Mr. Peyton began to get discouraged as to the prospec- 
tive value of his venture, and sold out his interest to Coburn 
and Ingalls. Then, in turn, Ingalls also became discouraged, 
and sold out his interest to EL W. Wheeler of Oneota, on 
November 1st, 1805. Hero was tin 4 first Interstate ownership 
of a vessel between Superior and Duluth. Every effort was 
made to get her oil*. A channel was dug from the bay to the 

vessel, when at that time operations for that year oeased. 



Here I quote a paragraph from the Superior Gazette of Dec- 
ember 16th, 1SG5. u The schooner Pierrepont was moved to- 
wards the channel on Monday last, some thirty-five or forty 
feet, but the recent cold snap has caused the ice to form so 
rapidly that it is more than probable she will remain where she 
now is till spring." 

In the next spring renewed efforts were made' by Coburn 
and Wheeler, and, after widening and deepening the channel, 
the schooner was pulled into the bay. In the subsequent 
improvement of the entry by the United States, it cost thou- 
sands of dollars to fill up that canal. The Pierrepont con- 
tinued in the lumber trade until 1S68, when she was sold to 
Samuel Vaughn of Bayfield, Wis. . 

In 1864 or 1S65, a schooner from Toledo, owned and com- 
manded by Jerry Simpson, now a member of Congress from 
Kansas, and known as "Sockless Simpson," made several trips 
to Oneota and Milford for lumber. The schooner Ford of 
Ontonagon, owned by Capt. John Parker, made some trips 
to those places after lumber. In 1868 R. Gr. Coburn chartered 
a tug called the Agate, of Ontonagon, and used her in towing 
scows with stone from Fond du Lac for the government piers 
at the entry. She was commanded by Capt. Alfred Merritt. 
This tug is yet in commission at Duluth, and is known as the 
John H. Jeffrey. In the same year the Stillmanwit plied as 
a ferry and excursion boat between Superior, Duluth, Oneota, 
and Fond du Lac. In 1869, Mr. Willard of Ontonagon brought 
to the head of the lake a side-wheel steam ferry boat named 
Kasota. She plied between Superior and Duluth, with Capt. 
George D. Greenfield as master, and his brother, Charles T. 
Greenfield, as engineer. The same year the small side-wheel 
steamer Geo. S. Frost, owned by D. Schutte of Superior, was 
run as a ferry and excursion boat between Superior, Duluth, 
Oneota, and Fond du Lac. The same year the small Bteaui 
yacht John Keyes made her appearance. She was purchased 
by the Lake Superior and Mississippi railroad company, which 
was then constructing its road, and was used in its service on 
the bays and rivers, with ('apt. George Sherwood, then and 
now of Duluth, as master, In the SlUUe war tin- tug Ame- 
thyst, owned l>y H. VV, Wheeler and K. (i. Coburn, was put in 
service in the harbor. 


The steamers plying on lake Superior, up as far as the 
head of the lake, before 1870, as nearly as the writer can as- 
certain through the kindness of Capt. George D. Greenfield 
of Leadville, Colo., a former resident of Duluth, who was also 
one of the early navigators on lake Superior forty-five years 
ago, were the side-wheel steamer India Poline, and, later, the 
schooner-rigged propeller Independence, the propeller Xapo- 
leon, the side-wheel steamer Sam Wead, the propeller Monti- 
cello, the propeller Manhattan, and the side-wheel steamer 
Baltimore, all on the lake before the completion of the Sault 
Ste. Marie canal. It took the last-named boat six days to 
bring the writer and his wife from the Sault and land them 
on Stuntz's dock on June 2nd, 1855. Then, after the Sault 
canal was opened in July, 1855, the steamers Superior, Lady 
Elgin, North Star, Keweenaw, Planet, and City of Cleveland, 
made regular trips from Chicago and other lower lake ports 
to Superior during seasons of navigation. The year 1869 was 
marked by an increase in the number of steamboats. Among 
them were the Norman, Atlantic, Northern Light, Sandusky, 
Cuyahoga, City of Madison, R. G. Coburn, and Ontonagon. 


After the close of the war of the rebellion, the people of 
the state again awoke to the great importance of the construc- 
tion of railroads. Land grants from Congress had been ob- 
tained for the building of railroads through different sections 
of the state, one of which was from St. Paul to the head of lake 
Superior; and in 1861 a charter had been granted to the Lake 
Superior and Mississippi railroad company. 

In 1865, through the influence and efforts of Gen. William 
L. Banning, James Smith, Jr., John M. Gilman, and William 
Branch, all of St. Paul, wealthy men in Philadelphia were 
induced to become interested in this enterprise, and active 
steps were taken in the survey and location of a route from 
St. Paul to lake Superior. A land company was organized, 
known as the Western Land Association of Minnesota, com- 
posed of the promoters of the railroad enterprise. Valuable 
lands were purchased by the company, at ami around Duluth 
and other points along the route, al low prices, which became 
largely enhanced In value after the completion of the railroad. 


In 1867 work was commenced at the St. Paul end of this 
railroad, and at Duluth in 1869, and the last spike was driven 
in an all-rail connection between St. Paul and Duluth on the 
afternoon of August 1st, 1870. 

About six years later the road went into the hands of a 
receiver, and in the reorganization a new company was formed 
and the name of the road changed to the St. Paul and Duluth 
railroad. Soon after the completion of the Lake Superior and 
Mississippi railroad, a section of the Northern Pacific railroad 
was completed from Brainerd to a junction with the Lake 
Superior and Mississippi railroad at Northern Pacific Junc- 
tion, now Carlton. The Northern Pacific railroad company, 
having purchased a half interest in the line of the Lake Supe- 
rior and Mississippi from there to Duluth, made this city its 
terminus on lake Superior. 


The first postoffice in St. Louis county was established at 
Oneota on June 17th, 1856, with E. F. Ely as postmaster. The 
first quarterly account current, dated September 30th, 1856, 
amounted to $2.46. During fifteen years of the existence of 
the postoffice at Oneota, the highest quarterly account was 
$30.39, on March 31st, 1S60. The writer has the original 
record, and in it are the names of the persons who in 1856 
to 1861 were subscribers to papers and periodicals that were 
received and distributed at the Oneota postoffice. 

Before the advent of a railroad, the mail facilities enjoyed 
by the settlements on the north shore were not of the best. 
For the first two years, 1855 and 1S56, settlers were wholly 
dependent on Superior, Wis., and the mails received there were 
few and far between. In 1855 a monthly mail service was 
allowed by the government from Taylor's Falls to Superior, 
a distance of about 125 miles. The route was through the 
forest wilderness on a blind trail. The mail was carried by 
packing it in Indian fashion on the backs of the carriers. I 
remember that in the fall of 1855 one of the carriers on the 
route got lost in the woods and wandered for a Dumber of days 
exhausted and almost famished, before ho reached an outlet 
to civilization. 



In the summer such a mail service was practically worth- 
less. The mails received at Superior by steamboats from the 
lower lake ports, although irregular, were our main depend- 
ence. Superior, Wis., was the terminus for all passenger busi- 
ness at the head of the lake from 1S55 to 18G9, nearing the 
time of the completion of the Lake Superior and Mississippi 
railroad, when docks, were built at Duluth. 

After the work on the government road to Superior was so 
far advanced as to make it passable, a stage was put on from 
St. Paul to Superior. On January 1st, 1857, a contract was 
let by the government to Charles Kingsbury and William 
Kimball for carrying a weekly mail to Superior and a semi- 
monthly mail from Twin Lakes, in Carlton county, to Du- 
luth, stopping and supplying the postoffices at Fond du Lac 
and Oneota. At the same time a contract was let for a 
monthly mail from Superior to Beaver Bay, Lake county. 

On the first of January, 1858, the service from Twin Lakes 
to Duluth was increased to a weekly service. In 18G3 Supe- 
rior obtained a tri-weekly service, and in 18G5 the Twin Lakes 
route to Duluth was abandoned, and in its place a semi- 
weekly service was established from Superior to Duluth, and 
weekly service from Duluth to Fond du Lac, supplying the 
Oneota postoffice. 

I desire here to give what Mr. Sidney Luce says as to the 
first postoffiee and the early postmasters of Duluth. Re is 
yet in the land of the living, at Kingsville, Ohio, on the farm 
where he was born, his age being now past seventy years. In 
June, 1857, he came to Duluth, or rather to Portland, in which 
townsite he was part owner. He built the first dock and ware- 
house on the lake shore, outside of the point, near the lake 
end of Third avenue east. The warehouse was built up from 
the westerly end of the dock, extending up two stories, about 
to a level with the top of the lake bank. Then, partly on the 
bank and extending out over the warehouse, he erected ins 
two-story dwelling house, where he lived for about eleven 
years, when the premises were sold to the Lake Superior and 
Mississippi railroad company, in the front of the dwelling 
house was a large room devoted to the public use. which lot 
many years was used as the Duluth postoffiee, United States 



land office, register of deeds office, and the county auditor's 
and county treasurer's offices. Mr. Luce wrote, under date of 
March 25, 1897, in reply to inquiries for information to be used 
in this paper: 

The friendships I formed in Duluth seem very dear to me at this 
distant day, and I hail and greet them all with pleasure, renewing the 
scenes of the active and best part of my life. It is now over 'twenty- 
three years since I left Duluth with my family My rec- 
ollection is that the postoffice at Duluth was established in 1S57, with 
J. B. Culver as postmaster, and was kept in the building north of the 
canal, occupied by Horace Saxton for some years. Culver held the 
office until he was appointed register of the land office. He then re- 
signed and I was appointed, my commission bearing date October 1, 
1800. I held the office until after my appointment as receiver of the 
land office in May, 1861. I recommended R. E. Jefferson as my suc- 
cessor, and the papers were sent on for execution; but in the mean- 
time he enlisted in the army and did not qualify, and I kept on acting 
as postmaster for some time afterward, when inquiries were made by 
the postoffice department why Jefferson had not qualified. I reported 
the facts in the case and recommended the appointment of Gilbert Fal- 
coner, who was duly appointed and qualified, but the entire manage- 
ment and control of the office was left with me, and I continued to act 
for him for some years, I cannot say just how long, probably to some 
time in 1868, Mr. Luke Marvin acting for him a while before the ap- 
pointment of Richard Marvin as postmaster. There never was any 
postoffice called Tortland. The land office, when it was removed from 
Buchanan, was called the Portland land office, but the postoffice always 
was Duluth. The change in the name of the land office, from Portland 
to Duluth, was made on my application. 

The present city of Duluth is probably the only city in the 
United States (unless we should except Greater New York) 
that is entitled to the distinction of having had at one time 
a "star route" mail service between two of its parts. In the 
year 18GG, the writer was a successful bidder for a weekly 
mail service between Duluth and Fond du Lac. The bid was 
at the rate of two dollars a trip, a distance of about fifteen 
miles one way, or thirty miles for the round trip. 

There was no road nor even a good trail betweeo Duluth. 
Oneota, and Fond du Lac, except what nature made, the St. 
Louis river in the summer and the ice on it i:i the winter. 
The bidder, after his eight years' experience in navigating the 

land and water of St. Louis county, logging in the IVOOds, 


working in the sawmill, farming, and performing the duties 
and enjoying all the emoluments and honors of probate judge, 
United States commissioner, and postmaster, all at the same 
time, deemed himself well equipped with necessary qualifica- 
tions for a mail carrier. 

In addition to the writer's official qualifications, he was 
equipped with that which was vastly more necessary, a boat 
for summer and his large Newfoundland dog, "Duff," for win- 
ter travel. Not many dogs mentioned in history deserve more 
commendation than Duff. During the winters, when not 
carrying mail, he was employed in hauling wood from that 
part of the present city of Duluth between First and Second 
avenues west and Superior and Second streets to the writers 
home on the point in Duluth where he then lived, or in bring- 
ing supplies from Superior, or taking his master or mistress 
to visit a neighbor. He would carry the writer's children 
across the ice on the lake about a mile to school in Portland. 
He often made the trip on the ice from Fond du Lac, stopping 
at Oneota, to Duluth, with his master and the mail bag in 
the sled, in less than two hours. Duff toiled thus faithfully 
for ten years. It is hoped that the writer may be pardoned for 
taking up so much space in mentioning this early Duluth mail 

It would seem incredible that for fifteen years, within the 
present city of Duluth, the United States mail had to be car- 
ried on a trail, by packer and dog train, yet such is the fact. 
From 1855 to 1870, the mail was carried in that way between 
Duluth, Oneota, Fond du Lac, and Twin Lakes. The writer 
can certify, from actual experience, that the mail carriers of 
those days were compelled to face and undergo extreme dan- 
gers and hardships. 


During the past ten or fifteen years the extreme cold and 
rigor of our winters have materially modified, in the early 
days, forty years ago, the cold of our winters was steady, dry. 
and uniform. Moccasins could be worn without having wet 

feet, from the middle of November to the first of April, li 
was almost the rule to see Ice on the lake until the first of 
June. The writer knew of two men getting otT a steamboat 


that had been stuck in the ice for several days, on the 9th of 
June, almost forty years ago, and walking to shore on the 
broken ice a distance of six or eight miles. Our winters are 
now much milder than in the early days. We are not now sur- 
prised to see all the snow disappear in midwinter and to have 
it rain. Such extremes would have been surprising thirty or 
forty years ago. 


The writer is able to give the names of only a few of the 
sixteen patriotic volunteers of St. Louis county, who, during 
the civil war, without hope of reward, except the conscious 
pride of the performance of a patriotic duty, responded to 
their country's call. 

Besides Col. J. B. Culver, before referred to in this paper, 
who was one of the sixteen, I remember six others. Two of 
them are yet residents of Duluth, Freeman Keen and John O. 
Rakowski. Mr. Keen was born in Oxford county, Maine, on 
November 20th, 1831, He came to the head of lake Superior 
in April, 1854, and in the fall of that year settled at Oneota. 
At the first call for 75,000 men by President Lincoln, he took a 
steamboat for Detroit, and at once enlisted in the First Mich- 
igan Battery. He zealously followed the fortunes of that bat- 
tery through three long years of hard fighting, taking part in 
all the battles, which were many, in which it was engaged. 
In the fall of 1864, Mr. Keen returned to Oneota, where he has 
since lived. 

John G. Rakowski was born March 24th, 1824, at Konigs- 
berg, East Prussia, Germany. He came to the United States 
in 1855; and came to St. Louis county in September of that 
year. In 18G1 he enlisted in Washington, D. C, in the Eighth 
New York regiment of volunteer infantry, and served with it 
for three months. Then he enlisted in the Eighth Ohio volun- 
teer infantry. He took part in many battles, from the first 
battle of Bull Run to the siege of Petersburg. After the d086 
of the war he returned, in 18G5, to his preemption claim just 
west of Rice's point, now in the Second division of Doluth. 

Julius G-ogarn, a German, whose history or military rec- 
ord the writer is unable to give. enlist od in a Michigan regiment 
in 1861, He lived near Oneot;i. back on the hill on his pre- 
emption claim, of which he made final proof and obtained his 


title before leaving to enlist. He is now an honored citizen of 
Wetmore, Alger county, Michigan. 

Robert P. Miller, after whom Miller's creek was named 
(which runs through a part of the city of Duluth), enlisted in 
the Fourth Minnesota regiment in December, 18G1. William 
C. Bailey, who resided on his homestead adjoining Oneota.with 
his wife and a large family of children, enlisted in the Fifth 
Minnesota in 1SG2. A part of his homestead is known now 
as Hazelwood addition to Oneota. The only other St. Louis 
volunteer, whose name I can recall, was Alonzo Wilson, who 
was enrolled in Xovember, 1861, in Brackett's cavalry bat- 
talion of Minnesota, 


The townsite of Buchanan, St. Louis county, named after 
James Buchanan, then candidate for the presidency of the 
United States, was platted in October, 1S5G, by William G. 
Cowell. The survey and platting were done by Christian Wie- 
land, then one of the best civil engineers at the head of the 
lake. It was located on the shore of lake Superior, southwest- 
ward from the mouth of Knife river. Like many other paper 
towns on the north shore, it never amounted to anything. 
Cowell never obtained title to the land embraced in the town- 
site. It was a wilderness while the land office was located 
there, and it became still more so after the removal of that of- 
fice to Portland. The land embraced in the townsite was 
afterward entered by purchase from the United States. 

In 1S57, the United States land office was located at Bu- 
chanan. In May, 1859, it was removed to Portland, but un- 
fortunately there was no suitable building that could be 
obtained in Portland for office room, so a small story and a 
half frame building was erected by William Net tie! on and J, 
B. Culver on the Xettleton claim, nearly on the site of the old 
first election log shanty. The land office was kept there until 
the appointment of Marvin and Luce as register and receiver 
in May, 1861, Then the land office was removed into the gen- 
eral office room in Mr. Luce's residence in Portland, where it 
was kept for eight years, until the appointment of Ansel 
Smith and William EL Feller as officers. The old building, 
after the land office was removed, was occupied as a ivsi- 


dence for a short time in 1SG1 by Judge John Dumphy, who 
was the register of deeds of St. Louis county in 1S59. He also, 
held the office of judge of probate for some years thereafter, 
and is yet an honored resident of Duluth. 

It was in that old land office building that the first public 
school for the Duluth School District No. 5 was kept in 1SG2. 
The same building was also used, in the years 18GG to 1SGS, as 
the headquarters of Mr. Mayhew, Prof. H. H. Eames, and 
others, upon their return from their explorations of the north 
shore of lake Superior and the Vermilion lake country. That 
old building is also entitled to still greater fame. It was in 
it that Masonry in Duluth had its birth, when, on the evening 
of the 10th of April, 18G9, the Palestine Lodge No. 79, A. F. and 
A. M., held its first meeting. The years since that time have 
witnessed the healthy and steady growth of Masonry in Du- 
luth, springing up, as it were, "from the little acorn to the 
mighty oak." 

In 1S70 the old building was moved down from its historic 
site to Superior street about seventy-five feet east of the cor- 
ner of First avenue east. It was enlarged and for a time it 
was occupied by Frank McWhorter as a fruit stand, and was 
afterward destroyed by fire. 


After Rev. W. T. P>outwelPs sermon at the Fond du Lac 
trading post in 1832, the next preaching that we have any ac- 
count of was a sermon delivered at Oneota by Rev. J. G. Wil- 
son, then of Superior, in the month of October, 1S55, in the 
log boarding house. In 1856, a frame building was erected 
between First and Second streets and a little east of Fond du 
Lac avenue, according to the plat of Oneota, by the pro- 
prietors of that townsite for public use as a sehoolhouse and 
a place for the ministers of all denominations to preach the 
gospel to the inhabitants of Oneota and neighboring sett lers. 
A bell for this building was donated by 1». W. Raymond, a 
wealthy merchant of Chicago. Rev. James Peet, a Methodist 
minister, came to Oneota in 1857, and remained until L861, 
preaching there and at other points, including Superior. A fter 
Mr. Peet left, Rev. James Pugh, of the same denomination, 
came and preached there for a year or two. After Mr. Pugh 



left, ministerial preaching was quite limited at all points on 
the north shore until 1S69. 

The first sermon in Duluth was preached by Rev. John M. 
Barnett, a Presbyterian minister of Superior, on a Sunday 
afternoon in July, 1S5G. His congregation was not very large. 
The writer was one of the number, having accompanied him 
in a flat-bottomed skiff from Superior. His pulpit was at the 
head of a table in the dining room of the sawmill boarding 
house, kept then by Mr. Newell Ryder and his family, which 
house was afterward owned and occupied as a residence by 
the writer. It was some years ago destroyed by fire. 

There were no church organizations established in Duluth 
or in St. Louis county prior to 1869. The early settlers of St. 
Louis, Carlton, and Lake counties were a law-abiding and 
Christian people. They lived for fifteen years without church- 
es, but not without preaching, without doctors and lawyers, 
but not without medicine and law. 

The churches established in Duluth in 1ST0, with their 
seating capacity, are reported are follows: The Methodist 
church, seating 400; the Presbyterian, 400: the Baptist, 300; 
the Congregational, 300; the Episcopal, 300; and the Roman 
Catholic, 200. 

On the first day of June, 1869, the first Presbyterian church 
of Duluth was organized by the Rev. W. R. Higgins, now de- 
ceased, who was the Presbyterian minister at Superior. Mr. 
Higgins had then for about three years also preached and min- 
istered to the people of Duluth. The writer is in possession 
of a copy of a diary kept by Mr. Higgins, which was kindly 
furnished by his son, Alvin M. Higgins, now one of the lead- 
ing attorneys of Terre Haute, lnd. To an old timer this diary 
is intensely interesting reading. In it Mr. Higgins makes 
mention of many trips on Sunday afternoons, both in summer 
and winter, across the bay to Duluth to preach and minister 
to its people. 


The first meeting of the board of county commissioners Of 

St. Louis county was held on January 4th, 1858, at the office 
of R. H. Barrett, then acting ns register of deeds, at Rtunti'a 
warehouse at the lower end of Minnesota point. There is no 
record that the board had a clerk, Without transacting any 



business, the board adjourned to meet at Duluth on the 19th. 
At this meeting in Duluth (no meeting place named) a petition 
was presented for the formation of a school district for Oneota 
and vicinity. Six school districts were created at that meet- 
ing. No. 1 was for Fond du Lac and vicinity; Xo. 2 was for 
that part of the country where New Duluth now is; Xo. 3 was 
for the neighborhood of Spirit lake; Xo. 4 was for Oneota and 
vicinity; Xo. 5 for Duluth and Portland and vicinity; and Xo. 
G for the lower half of Minnesota point. 

The early pioneers did not neglect the future of the rising 
generation. Schoolhouses and teachers came before churches, 
and as soon as the preacher. After the missionary schools 
taught at Fond du Lac by Mr. Ely in 1835, and by Rev. J. W. 
Holt and wife in 1849, before referred to, the next was a school 
taught by Miss X\ C. Barnett, a sister of Rev. J. M. Barnett 
of Superior, Wis., in the summer of 1S56 at Oneota, where, 
every year since that date, a school has been taught. The 
next school was one taught for a short time in the summer 
of 18G1 by a Miss Clark, a daughter of David Clark, who then 
lived in the Culver house-in Duluth on Minnesota point. Dur- 
ing 18G2 and 1SG3, a public school for the Fifth district was 
taught in the vacant United States land office building on 
"Xettleton's claim." Next was a school in a small building 
in Portland, situated about where the Ray block stands, east 
of Fourth avenue east and Superior street, Duluth. Then in 
18GG a larger building was erected in the block between Third 
and Fourth avenues east on the lower side of East First street , 
also in Portland, where a school was regularly kept until after 
the new birth of the city of Duluth in 1S70. This building was 
also used until 1S70 for religious services and public meetings. 

The first enrollment of children between the ages of four 
and twenty-one years, reported to the county commissioners, 
was from the school trustees of Oneota school district on Jan- 
uary 3rd, 1850. The number reported was thirty-eight chil- 
dren. In 18G0 a similar report was made of forty-nine children, 

The first report from the Duluth school district was on 
January 28th, 1SG1, but tin? commissioners' record does not 
give the number. 

The total enrollment of children of school age In Bt. Louis 

county in the year ISC5 was ST. being I!) boys ami 88 girls. 



On February 12th, 1SG1, the school funds apportioned to 
Oneota and Duluth school districts, in the hands of the county 
treasurer, were §75.40 for the Oneota district, and §37.70 for 
the Duluth district. Those old days were the days of small 
things. Contrast the receipts and disbursements of the Inde- 
pendent school district of Duluth, which now embraces the 
territory of those first six school districts, as shown by its 
treasurer, for the year 1S97, namely, total receipts in the gen- 
eral fund, including teachers' wages, §348,250.73; besides the 
building fund, §28,856.09, and the sinking fund, §107,043.32. 
The number of pupils enrolled in 1897 was 9,G13; and the total 
value of school buildings and furniture, §1,800,700. 


From the year 1855 to the year 18G2 the fact of any loca- 
tion of the county seat of St. Louis county was a disputed 
question. There was no law locating it, nor any existing rec- 
ord that it had ever been located by the board of county com- 
missioners, that body having been empowered to do so by the 
law. It was contended by the Duluth people that it was 
located on Nettletons claim, on the main shore at the base of 
Minnesota point, by the board of county commissioners, but 
no record of such fact was ever found. If any such action was 
ever taken, it may have been by the board of county commis- 
sioners of Superior county, of whose acts, if they ever held a 
meeting, no record was preserved. 

For a number of years, persons who were fortunate or 
unfortunate enough to be elected to any county office were 
not questioned as to their right to hold their office at their 
homes, wherever they lived. For two years a majority of the 
county offices were held at Oneota. For four years the clerk 
of the district court held his office at his home at Fond du Lac. 
The county commissioners were a rambling body in their 
places of meeting. 

After the year 18G2, it was generally conceded thai Duluth 
was the county seat. Now, even if Duluth's undisputed pos- 
session of the county sent for thirty-six years should be ques- 
tioned, there is* no point at the head of the lake that can raise 

an objection, because she has spread the county Beat over 
twenty-five miles, embracing all the towns, from Clifton, in 



the old county of Superior, to the "Grand Portage of the Fond 
du Lac," the head of navigation on the St. Louis river. 


The first county auditor of St. Louis county, Mr. Edwin H. 
Brown, was elected in October, 1S58, receiving only one vote, 
and that vote was his own. On November 1st, 1S58, he ap- 
peared before the county board of supervisors, then in session 
at the house of E. 0. Martin in Portland, and was recognized 
as the clerk of the board. He was, at that meeting, required 
to give an official bond in the sum of $1,000. He held the 
office for fourteen months and received only §32.20 for his 
services. The first yearly salary fixed by the county board for 
the county auditor was on July 12th, 1801, at §200. 

On January 14th, 1S61, the board of county commissioners, 
in session as a board of equalization, equalized real estate 
values for taxation as follows: ''The land on the shore of 
the lake and bays of St. Louis and Superior and their imme- 
diate vicinity" was fixed at §3 an acre, and "land farther 
back" at §2 an acre, and townsite lots were left as the assessors 
valued them, at §1.25 a lot. In September, 1862, the same 
board fixed the values of the same classes of land at §2 and 
§1.25 an acre, respectively, and fixed the values of all platted 
lots in the towns of Duluth, Rice's Point, Oneota, and Fond 
du Lac, at §1 a lot. 

In the year 18G0 the total valuation of personal property 
in St. Louis county was §9,620; in 1861 it was §1,726; in 1SG2, 
§5,000; in 1863, not reported; and in 1S61, §2,179. The total 
real estate values for 1860 were §96,836.76; and for 1864, 

In the year 1S70 the population of St. Louis county was 
4,561, of which number Duluth had 3,131. Carlton county had 
2S6 inhabitants; and Lake county, 135. In the same year the 
total valuation of real and personal property in St. Louis 
county was §220,693; the total taxes levied, |7,955; and the 
total debt, §5,212. 

The first, deed recorded in the office of the register of deeds 
of st. Louis county was a quitclaim deed from Rion H. Bacon 
to Edmund P. Ely, for the townsite of Oneota. it was re 
corded on June 6th, L86C, and the consideration was 01,500. 


The record of the first couple married in Duluth is typical 
of the union of Duluth and Portland: "By Rev. J. M. Barrett 
(of Superior, Wis.), on April 12th, 18^9, William Epler, a resi- 
dent of Portland, and Jennie A. Woodman, resident of Du- 
luth," in the presence Of J. B. Culver and E. C. Martin. 

The first issue of a newspaper published at Duluth was 
the Duluih Minnesotian, April 24th, 1SG9, with Dr. Thomas 
Foster as editor. He came to Duluth the year before from 
St. Paul, where he had for some years edited the St. Paul 
Minnesotian. The office of publication of the Duluth Minne- 
sotian was an old building on the westerly side of Lake ave- 
nue, about a block north of where the canal now is. The pa- 
per soon passed from the doctor's control, and in a few years 
it ceased to exist. 

The remarkable growth of Duluth dates from its first city 
charter, granted by an act of the state legislature, approved 
March Gth, 1870. 

At the first city election, held on April 4th, 1870, there 
were 448 votes polled, of which Col. J. B. Culver, Democrat, 
had 241, and John C. Hunter, Republican, had 205, for mayor, 
with two scattering votes. George C. Stone was elected as 
the first city treasurer; Orlando Luce as the first city comp- 
troller; and Henry Silby as the first city justice. All the 
other officers were appointed by the mayor and city council. 

This paper has extended far beyond the limit at first de- 
signed by the writer, when he undertook the task. It records 
portions of the early history of Duluth and northeastern Min- 
nesota which may be of interest to coining generations. 

For the time since the birth of the new city of Duluth in 
1S70, the writer hopes that some one of the many of its resi- 
dents who have lived in the city from that date, haying better 
qualifications for the work than he, will write the history 
of its struggles during its first ten years, and of its steady 
and substantial growth since 18S0 to the present time. 




The act creating Redwood county was passed by the ses- 
sion of the legislature of 1S62, and a second act changing and 
defining its boundaries and providing for its civil organization 
was passed in 1865. This area had previously formed a part 
of Brown county, and earlier of Blue Earth county. The 
boundaries of Redwood county, as established by these acts, 
reached to the west line of the state and northwest to Big 
Stone lake. At later dates, the counties of Lyon, Lincoln, 
Yellow Medicine, and Lac qui Parle, have been formed from 
the territory originally included in this county. Its present 
area, which it has had since 1871, comprises nearly twenty- 
five townships of the government surveys, including live f rag- 
mental townships on the northeast adjoining the Minnesota 

In the organization of most counties in the state, the fact 
of prior ownership and occupation by Indian tribes is taken 
for granted; but in the case of Redwood county, because a 
part of its territory had already been occupied by farms with 
houses, plowed lands in crop, and a fairly developed agricul- 
tural industry, it is necessary to revert to previous condition* 
in order to have a full understanding of its history. 

In the years 1850 to 1858 the United Slates government, 
under the influence of those who believed that the Indian 

should be given the opportunity to become a citiien, nnd that 
the true policy for the management of I he words of I be nation 
was through their adoption of habits of industry which should 

•Read nt the monthly meeting Of the Executive Council. M.iv '.>. 1S0S. 


lead to self-support and independence, inaugurated the policy 
of building houses, breaking up land, and furnishing teams, 
implements, and such other supplies as were necessary to en- 
able the Indian to have a fixed home and adopt the habits of 
civilization. Among the reservations set apart for this pur- 
pose was the Sioux Indian reservation on the west bank of the 
Minnesota river, a strip of an average width of ten miles and 
extending from a short distance above New Ulm to Big Stone 

There were over G,000 Indians on the reservation at the 
time of the outbreak in 1862, known as the "Annuity Sioux In- 
dians," divided between the upper agencies at Lac qui Parle 
and Yellow Medicine and the Lower Sioux Agency in what is 
now the town of Sherman in Redwood county. There was a 
superintendent at each agency, and a thorough system of 
farming had been established prior to the outbreak, which 
gave promise at an early day to make the Indian both self-re- 
specting and independent. At the Lower Agency the govern- 
ment buildings, with the trading posts of Messrs. Robert, 
Forbes, and Myrick, formed quite a village. In that vicinity 
about S00 acres of land had been broken up, comfortable brick 
houses had been built, and altogether the outlook was promis- 
ing for the success of the effort to lift the red man to a higher 
plane of existence. "The hopes of the philanthropist and Chris- 
tian beat high. They believed the day was not far distant 
when it could be said that the Sioux Indian as a race not only 
could be civilized, but there were whole tribes who were civil- 
ized, and had abandoned the chase and the war path for the 
cultivation of the soil and the arts of peace; and that the jug- 
gleries and sorceries of the medicine man had been abandoned 
for the milder teaching of the missionaries of the cross." llow 
their high hopes were blasted by the uprising and massacre 
of 18G2 it is not the purpose of this paper to recite, as the 
subject is only introduced to show that, previous to iis settle- 
ment by the white man, Redwood county has a history of set- 
tlement and cultivation as well as of rapine, plunder and 

Redwood county took its name from Redwood river, which 
rises in Lincoln and Pipestone counties and Mows easterly 
across this county into the Minnesota, below Redwood Falls. 


There is a frontage of about twenty-seven miles on the Minne- 
sota river. Along this river, at the time of the first settle- 
ment, there were considerable tracts of timber, which, with a 
few other tracts on the Cottonwood river and some small 
groves, furnished the wood and lumber supplies for the pio- 
neers. The remaining portion of the land was a gently undu- 
lating prairie, with a deep soil of black loam underlain by clay. 
For general farming purposes, it may be classed as equal to 
any in the state. There were at the first a great many sloughs 
and a number of what were considered permanent lakes; but 
cultivation of the adjoining lands and change of the seasons 
have made meadows of the greater number of the sloughs, 
and it can now be seen that within a few years not a perma- 
nent lake of any size will remain. The first requirement of 
the new settler was timber and water, and so we find that the 
Minnesota river formed a natural base for the settlement of 
the valley; for, though the open prairie lands were more easily 
brought under cultivation, the first settlers, practically help- 
less for want of transportation, kept near to timber, which 
was necessary both for fuel and building purposes. 

The first settlers in Redwood county were Col. Samuel Mc- 
Phail, O. C. Martin, John B. Thompson, T. W. Caster, Orrin 
Fletcher, and John W. Dunlap, who arrived at the Falls of the 
Redwood on May 2nd, 1SG4. It is to be noted that notwith- 
standing the punishment and forcible expulsion of the hostile 
Indians, enough remained skulkiug in the woods and about 
the county to keep the whites in a constant state of alarm. 
We find that these first settlers at once on their arrival began 
the erection of temporary sleeping quarters built of logs ami 
banked up with sods; that this was followed by a block house 
1G by 24 feet in area and high enough to give Bleeping quai ters 
upstairs; and that afterward a stockade L50 by 200 feci was 
built, inside of which three or four other houses were built 
from time to time to accommodate the newcomers. All had the 
feeling that it was unsafe to risk living on the claims which 
they took in the vicinity a little later. Col. IfcPhai] says in 
a letter: "May 16th our post was reinforced by the arrival 
of Capt. Ed. Tost and Frank Kennedy. They took claims on 
the west side, known as the Cook place. They planted pota 

toes, corn, and melons. This was the only planting done tli.U 



season in the colony. Messrs. Post and Kennedy assisted in 
building the stockade, but did not remain permanently." 

The record shows the name of John S. Gr. Honner as the 
next arrival, and soon David Watson came in and built a small 
house inside the stockade. Jacob Tippery and George Spang- 
ler also arrived about this time. 

There is evidence, in Col. McPhail's letters, that -the few 
Indians still remaining in the vicinity kept the little colony 
constantly on the alert during the whole of this first summer. 
On May 24th to Col. Pfaender, in command at Fort Kidgely, 
he says: "There are in this vicinity six or eight straggling 
Indians. If you could send up ten or twelve cavalry for a 
few days, with our aid I feel confident we could capture them.-' 
On June 2nd he wrote to Gen. Sibley : "We are and have been 
greatly annoyed by small bands of prowling Indians. We 
would respectfully ask, if not inconsistent with the public 
service, that you grant us a small detachment of troops.*' 
Again, under date of June 14th, to the adjutant general, Oscar 
Malmros, he says: "Send me to Fort Ridgely twenty Spring- 
field rifles; also, 1,000 round ball cartridges. Should we use 
these cartridges, we will pay for them with scalps, that is, if 
the bounty of $200 still holds good; if not, then charge them 
to the good of the service." The authorities responded to the 
appeals by sending guns and ammunition on July 2Sth, and, 
on December 12th, a squad of twelve ex-rebels for guard duty. 
In the early fall the settlers were reinforced b}' the arrival 
of A. W. Webster, J. W. Harkness, and Biruey Flynn. 

On July 12th the little community began to feel the want 
of a postoffice and petitioned the postmaster general, setting 
forth that they were twenty-two miles from the nearest office 
and praying that an office be established at Redwood Falls, 
which petition was granted in the fall, John R. Thompson 
being appointed postmaster. 

The presidential election of 1864 was approaching ami 
the hardy pioneers, not desiring to be disfranchised, petitioned 
Governor Miller for the establishment of an election district, 
in pursuance of which the governor set off the whole county, 
as it was afterward organized, including the present conntj 
with Lyon, Lincoln, Yellow Medicine, ami Lac ()u\ Parle conn- 
ties, as such district.' Tin 4 election of 1804 was held at the 



house of John S. Gr. Honner inside the stockade; the election 
board being O. C. Martin, T. W. Caster, and Ed McCormick. 
In reference to the election Col. McPhail says: "We cast 
sixty-five votes, all straight Eepublican; no intimidation, no 
bulldozing." The United States government had the lands in 
the county surveyed during the summer and fall of 1864, and 
that fact may explain where a part of the sixty-five votes 
came from, as the roster does not show that number of perma- 
nent settlers. 

Col. McPhail and T. W. Caster took the claims on which 
the original town of Redwood Falls was located, and later 
McPhail bought out Caster and had the village platted into 
four hundred lots which were sold in shares of twenty lots 
each at §100 a share. Among the other settlers who entered 
claims in this vicinity, O. C. Martin and Edmund Fosgate 
located about two and a half miles southwest of the village, 
and John S. G-. Honner two miles north, all on the Redwood 
river. The land, having been surveyed, was appraised by 
commissioners in the fall of 1864, who valued the most of it at 
§1.25 per acre; though some special tracts and timber lands, 
with those on which improvements had been made, were rated 
from $2.50 to §5 per acre. 

The first permanent officers of the county were elected in 
November, 1S65. O. C. Martin, chairman, Hugh Currie, and 
John Winters, were commissioners; Edward March was au- 
ditor; L. M. Baker, register of deeds; Jacob Tippery, treas- 
urer; Samuel McPhail, clerk of court and county attorney: 
and Norman Webster, sheriff. The county seat was estab- 
lished at Redwood Falls, at the same election. As noted 
above, Gov. Miller had set off what now comprises th e coun- 
ties as an election district, which surely could not Interfere 
with the right of the voter; but attention is called to a pecul- 
iar feature of this early arrangement, granting to all voters 
living in unorganized townships the right to vote in the Tillage 
of Redwood Falls, which right continued as late as L882. 

The first term of court held in the count}! was at Etedwood 
Falls over the store building of Louis Robert, beginning June 
L8tll, 18C7, for the trial of what are known as the New (Jin 
murder cases. The trial had been removed from Brown county 
because the presiding judge, Bon.' Horace Austin, found public 


sentiment too much prejudiced to admit of a fair trial at New 
Ulin. The attorneys in the case were Col. Colvill, attorney 
general, Samuel McPhail, county attorney, and S. A. Buell, for 
the prosecution; and Judge C. E. Flandrau, of St. Paul, C. T. 
Clothier, Francis Baasen, and John McDorman, of New Ulni, 
for the defense. The defendants were charged with taking 
two men, who had assaulted a barkeeper, to the Minnesota 
river and drowning them by putting them under the ice. The 
trial resulted in an acquittal. 

Col. McPhail generously donated a block of ground for 
county purposes, on which the first court house, twenty-eight 
feet square, with a court room upstairs, was built in 1S74. At 
that time it was the most commodious and pretentious build- 
ing in the county. To this modest beginning an addition of 
the same size was made in 1881, which provided convenient 
quarters for the transaction of public business until 1891, 
when the present very complete court house of brick was 
erected at a cost of $35,000. The county has also a jail build- 
ing which cost §15,000. Previous to the building of the first 
court house the public offices were kept mostly at private 
houses, and terms of court were held in different halls. 

Miss Julia A. Williams taught a private school in the 
stockade in 1864; but the educational history of the county 
opened with the organization of school district Xo. 1 at Red- 
wood Falls in April, 1SGG, with Edward March, county auditor, 
who had also been appointed superintendent of schools, as 
teacher. There were in 1S78 only thirty-three organized school 
districts. In 18SG, when the number of school districts had 
increased to sixty-seven, a thorough attempt was made to 
systematize the work and improve the teaching force of the 
county, among which there was hardly a first grade teacher in 
the rural districts, and more holdiug third than second grade 
certificates. In Redwood Falls, Independent District No. l now 
has a thoroughly graded and high school system, with twelve 
teachers, a library of 1,000 volumes, necessary apparatus for 
the illustration of the sciences, and an enrollment of BOO 
pupils. The county now lias seven graded schools with one or 
more departments, and 03 school districts, with 103 Bchool 
buildings, nearly all of which are comfortable nnd well for 



At the present time over 4,000 pupils are enrolled; and 
126 teachers, of whom forty hold first grade certificates or 
normal school diplomas, are employed. Only seven third 
grade licenses are in force. Sixty districts are supplied with 
libraries, ranging in value from §G0 to $100. Ninety per cent, 
of the districts supply text books to pupils free of charge. S. 
J. Race, the present very efficient superintendent, has held the 
office since 1886. 

To a new settlement, after shelter and the means of sub- 
sistence are provided, the question of transportation is of the 
highest importance. At the beginning the only means of com- 
munication between the little colony and St. Paul, the general 
market and base of supplies, was the Minnesota river, which 
even at Mankato was too uncertain to afford satisfactory busi- 
ness facilities with the outside world. At New Ulm, the next 
place of importance up the river, boats were only expected 
to run for a month or two in the spring, and possibly a month 
in the fall. Yet the energetic settlers at Redwood determined 
to do the best they could to induce steamboat owners to risk 
a trip to their growing settlement, forty miles beyond New 
Ulm. From 1865 to 1876 it was Dearly always possible for 
small stern-wheel boats to make a trip or two to Redwood in 
the spring; and during one season the stage of water permit- 
ted Gen. M. D. Flower to reach there several times with his 
boat, the Osceola. The Pioneer was chartered by 1). L. Big- 
ham in the spring of 1S69, loaded with lumber at St. Paul, and 
made a successful trip. 

In 1875 a large warehouse was built at the landing on the 
Minnesota, called Riverside, by a company, for the purpose 
of providing storage, and to give an outlet by the river for 
the wheat crop, of which 60.000 bushels were brought and 
stored during the next fall and winter. Id the s}»i ing of l s ~'' 
two side-wheel steamboats arrived at Riverside, laden with 
lumber, and took out the wheat in store and a large amount 
from Redwood and private parties. To warehouse men, and 
to Daniels & Son, who had opened a general sime and built 
a hotel, the transportation Bcheme seemed Bolved, but it proi ed 
only a case of whistling before petting out of the woods, in 
a few days it was learned thai the i><,;iis were stranded on 
sandbar at the mouth of the Blue Earth river, ami the parties 



who shipped the wheat were called on to furnish sacks and 
men to transfer the grain to the railroad. This practically put 
an end to the Riverside and steamboat transportation scheme. 
The warehouse and hotel were removed to Eedwood Falls and 
used in building an elevator and hotel there. 

Capt. Leroy Kewton made a further effort to utilize the 
river. He took a large barge and rigged a wheel at the stern, 
which was propelled by an ordinary eight-horse thresher pow- 
er. This, however, proved unsuccessful; though it was of 
some help to reach New Ulm, which was the end of his run. 

The first newspaper published was the Redwood Falls 
Mail, in September, 1S69, by V. C. Seward, which was bought 
by William R. Herriott in May, 1873. The name was changed 
at the same time to the Redwood Gazette, and it is now is- 
sued under this name by Aiken & Schmahl, proprietors. 

The Winona &: St. Peter railway was built to Lamberton 
and through the southern part of Redwood county in 1S73; its 
branch, the Minnesota Valley railway, running from Sleepy 
Eye to Redwood Falls, was completed in August, 1S7S; and 
the Minneapolis & St. Louis railway company built its line to 
North Redwood in 1SS5. 

The Redwood County Agricultural Society was organized 
in 1873, and held its first fair that fall. ^ There was hardly 
any progress made until 18S2, when it was reorganized, issued 
stock to the amount of §300, and bought forty acres of land, 
on which it has gradually built comfortable buildings. It 
has a good half mile track and a graud stand. The policy 
of the management has been conservative, and there lias been 
a little profit nearly every year. 

The land office of the Redwood Fails land district was 
established in July, 1S72, with Col. R. F. Smith, register, and 
Major W. IT. Kelley, receiver. These officers were Bocceeded 
by Capt. W. P. Dunnington and W. B. Berriott The office 
was removed to Marshall sonic years ago. 

The first banking business, opened as a private bank in 
November, 1871, by W. F. Dickenson, lias since been Incor 
porated under the state lav s as the Bank of Redwood Palls, 
with a capital of $25,000, The first store, except one opened 
by Louis Robert in the stockade, was opened by EL Benke & 


Brother, in July, 18G5, under the management of A. Northrop. 
The first hotel, the Exchange, was built by James McMillan 
and opened in 1SG5, on the lots now occupied by the county 

The first physician to locate in the county was Dr. D. L. 
Hitchcock, who came with his family in 1SG5. Col. Samuel 
McPhail was the first attorney. 

The first grain elevator was erected in 1878, with a capacity 
of 100,000 bushels. The first blacksmith shop was opened by 
John Thomas, in the spring of 1SG5. W. P. Tenney opened a 
barber shop in 1870, and has continued the business to this 

The first birth was of Henry Thompson, to Mr. and Mrs. J. 
R. Thompson, in February, 18G5; and the first death was of 
Willie Honner, son of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. G. Honner, on April 
12th, 1865. The first religious services were held by a Baptist 
clergyman in August, 1SG5, at the house of J. S. G. Honner. 
"The first marriage ceremony was performed by O. C. Martin, 
justice of the peace, between George Coffee and Amanda Cole. 
It took place under the falls, where the parties chose it should 
be solemnized."' 

The government built a saw mill at the falls of the Red- 
wood in 1855, for the purpose of supplying lumber for houses 
to be built for the Indians. The raceway was blasted out of 
granite forming the ledge of the falls. E. G. Pomroy, now 
living in the town of Underwood, assisted in building the mill. 
During the outbreak, or later, it was entirely dismantled, and 
all the machinery was carried away, presumably not by the 
Sioux. The building, however, remained, and it was refitted 
and put in order in 1865 by McPhail, Man in and Thompson, 
who there sawed the lumber for all the frame buildings erecl d 
in the vicinity. This was, at the time, the most Important, 
and, if the report of a charge of $16 a thousand for Ban Ing be 
true, the most profitable industry above New rim. Another 
saw mill was built by Kner and Andrew Birum in L8C9, on 
the Redwood about half a mile above the confluence with the 
Minnesota, which, with an abundance of native timber near 
at hand and a constantly Increasing demand, as in the case 
of the mill at the falls, proved both a necessary and j>; ofltable 



The first grist mill in the county, now called the Redwood 
Roller Mills, was built in 1SGS by Park Worden and S. J. F. 
Ruter, just above the falls of the Redwood, with two run of 
stone and room for two run additional. This mill has since 
been changed to the roller system, has been supplied with 
modern facilities and appliances, and has a capacity of seven- 
ty-five barrels of flour a day. The present owner is A. C. 

A. M. Cook and Sons built the Delhi Mill, with three run 
of stone, in 1869, higher up on the river, at its crossing by 
the old territorial road. This mill was owned later by W. E. 
Baker and James McMillan, and later still by O. W. McMillan 
& Co. It was destroyed by fire in 1895. 

Bridge building was inaugurated in the county by the leg- 
islature of 1871, which passed an act appropriating $5,000 for 
the construction of a Howe truss bridge across the Redwood 
river at the dalles. This bridge was entirely of wood. The 
bill was introduced by Hon. J. S. G. Homier, representative, 
and was passed only after a hard fight. The amount was the 
first considerable sum appropriated from the internal improve- 
ment fund created by the five per cent, given to the state in 
sales of government lands. The bridge was replaced some 
years ago by an iron combination structure on a more modern 

The early settlement of the county was greatly retarded by 
the withdrawal from the operation of the homestead law of 
a large body of land for a railroad bonus, equal to half of the 
area in most townships; by the location of considerable tracts 
of the University and Internal Improvement grants within its 
limits; and by the sale of a large part of the reservation to 

A second cause of discouragement and delay was the visit 
of the grasshoppers, lasting from 1ST! to 1877, during which 
time very little was harvested. The eggs were laid in the 
prairie each year, and they hatched out just in time for the 
young hoppers to move into the wheal fields when the tender 
blades were two or three inches high, and to eat tlx ni ofl BO 
close to the ground that H gave the appearance of :i Are hav- 
ing passed over the holds, if anything had escaped their 

ravages, later in the season, on tome fair day, a fleecy (hoid 


might be seen between the observer and the sun, which would 
prove to be an invading host of these marauders seeking some- 
thing to devour. Verily, the grasshopper was. a burden dur- 
ing those disastrous years! The farmers lost courage and in 
many cases were driven away altogether from the places where 
they had hoped to make their homes. Many others were com- 
pelled to leave their claims temporarily to procure means of 
subsistence for themselves and their families. The state did 
what it could to furnish seed grain on two or three occasions, 
and donations from the older counties relieved the situation 
in a slight degree; but, in any view, it was a most trying 
experience to the hardy and industrious pioneer families, who, 
at the best, could only maintain the position they had taken 
on the frontier by hard work and self-denial. 

Kaolin is found in large quantities on the left bank of the 
Redwood river within the limits of the city of Redwood Falls, 
samples of which have been tested and reported to be of good 
quality; but thus far no effort has been made to work or pre- 
pare it for market, and it is as yet an undeveloped resource. 

A low grade of lignite is found at three or four places in 
the bluff along the Minnesota river, and an excavation in its 
larger bed is known as the Peabody mine. An effort was 
made about five years ago, in 1893, to develop this deposit, the 
view of the interested parties being that the indications were 
that a good quality of bituminous coal would be found by open- 
ing the seam to a considerable depth. After spending much 
money, it was discovered that, though the product would 
burn, it had no commercial value, and further effort was 

There are extensive granite ledges within the borders of 
the county, tilong the Minnesota river, in two of which, at 
North Redwood and again at a point north of Belview, quar- 
ries have been opened and worked to quite an extent, enough, 
at the least, to demonstrate that the product is of a high qual- 
ity, and that it is only necessary for a demand to spring up to 
make these quarries, as well as others not yet opened, a per- 
manent and profitable Industry. 

The county has been fortunate in its financial policy and 
has always kept faith will) its creditors. Notwithstanding its 

early disability to lew taxes equally, by reason of a y<m y large 



portion of its land being Don-taxable, and in spite of the 
grasshopper raid, which made it impossible for settlers to pay, 
the necessary expenses were always met without incurring 
debt. It is due to the different boards of county, commission- 
ers and officers who have been in control from time to time, 
to say that the management of county affairs has been pru- 
dent, business-like and conservative; and to these officers, m 
a large degree, is due the high credit and financial standing 
of the county. The present indebtedness of the county is 
$45,000 in county bonds drawing interest at five per cent, 
issued for a part of §50,000 given to the Minnesota Valley rail- 
way company in 1S7S, and the balance for county buildings. 
The county property consists of a court house erected at a 
cost of §35,000; a jail costing §15,000; and the county poor 
farm, §5,000. This does not take account of delinquent taxes. 
The valuation of the assessment of 1897 was §4,S42,45S. The 
number of acres in crops last year was 167,110; add to this 
some 200,000 acres of pasture, and we find that the farmers 
have utilized two-thirds of the 557,000 acres of land contained 
in the county. 

This paper has been written with the purpose of taking up 
the subjects of the organization of towns and villages, the 
history of religious bodies and secret orders, and the general 
development of the agricultural and other industries of the 
county, at a future time. 

Minn knot a HISTORICAL Soimkty, 
Vol.. IX. Pi. a I K V. 



Mr. President, Members of the Historical Society, and Citi- 
zens of Minnesota: It is with great pleasure that I appear be- 
fore the Minnesota Historical Society in response to an invita- 
tion extended from your Committee on Lectures. From the 
time of the formation of this society in 1849, I have known of 
its progress, success, and noble aims. The wisdom and fore- 
sight of its founders have been happily illustrated year by 
year in the interest manifested by our people, in the valuable 
library accumulated, free to all, and in the published remi- 
niscences of the history of Minnesota, from the days of tradi- 
tions among the Indians to the present time. May the Minne- 
sota Historical Society continue in its usefulness and pros- 

The invitation of your committee expressed the desire for 
an article on the History of Lumbering in the St. Croix Val- 
ley. It appeared quite an undertaking, involving considerable 
research and covering sixty years of the rise and progress of 
an important industry. In entering upon this history, I found 
many of the records obliterated and most of the early mill 
operators and owners dead; but with the kind assistance of 
interested friends I have been able to collect and compile the 
statistics, approximately correct, of the annual cut and manu- 
facture of pine timber in the St Croix valley from the begin- 
ning to the present year. 

In gathering these statistics T have followed the courses 
Of the rivers and railway lines where the mills arc 4 situated, 

'An Address at the Annual Meeting of tho Minnesota Historical Society. 
J «n. 10, 1809. 



instead of referring to the various mills in the chronologic or- 
der of their being built; yet their dates are given as far as 
they could be ascertained with the help of friends and from 
my own memoranda. In arranging the data, I have inter- 
spersed incidents of the early settlement, with numerous short 
biographic sketches. I have also had occasion to make refer- 
ence to the fifteen different tribes, nationalities, and territorial 
and state governments, as far as they can be traced back, 
which have had control or jurisdiction over the St Croix val- 
ley, to-wit: 

1. Sioux Indians. 9. Illinois Territory. 

2. Ojibway Indians. 10. Michigan Territory. 

3. Government of France. 11. State of Michigan. 

4. Government of England. 12. Wisconsin Territory. 

5. Virginia. 13. State of Wisconsin. 

6. United States. 14. Minnesota Territory. 

7. Ohio Territory- 15. State of Minnesota. 

8. Indiana Territory. 

In 1680, Duluth, who discovered and floated down the St. 
Croix river, was the first man to see this Valley, of whom we 
have any account. He was a native of Lyons, France, and 
was an adventurer for wealth and fame. After more than 
two centuries have passed away, his name is honored, at the 
southwest end of lake Superior, by a great and growing city. 

The St. Croix river derived its name from a man by the 
name of St. Croix, who was buried at the mouth of St. Croix 
lake in the seventeenth century. 

In 1833, the American Board of Foreign Missions estab- 
lished a mission on Yellow river, an eastern tributary of the 
St. Croix, under the supervision of Rev. Frederick Ayer, who 
in 1857 was a member of the Minnesota Constitutional Con- 
vention from Morrison county. It was in tins mission that the 
first school was opened in the valley by Miss Hester Crooks, 
later Mrs. W. T. Boutwell, now deceased. Her father was 
Ramsay Crooks, president of the American Fur Company. 
This mission was removed to Fokegama, Pine county, in 1836. 

In 1887, treaties were made by our government with the 
Ojibway (Chippewa) and Sioux Indians, which opened the Bt 
Croix valley to white Immigration, an opportunity thai was 

soon improved. GOV. Henry DodgS of Wisconsin and Gen. W* 


R. Smith negotiated with the Ojibways at Fort Snelling, while 
the Sioux treaty was made at Washington. These treaties 
were ratified by Congress in 1838. 


For the following account of the earliest settlement and 
the first cutting of lumber on the St Croix I am indebted to 
Mr. Franklin Steele, who was the first pioneer to come to the 
Valley with the intention of making permanent improvements. 
He wrote: 

I came to the Northwest in 1837, a young man, healthy and ambi- 
tious, to dare the perils of an almost unexplored region, inhabited by 
savages. I sought Fort Snelling (which was at that time an active 
United States fort) as a point from which to start. In September, 1837, 
immediately after the treaty was made ceding the St. Croix valley to 
the government, accompanied by Dr. Fitch, of Bloomington, Iowa, I 
started from Fort Snelling in a bark canoe, accompanied by a scow 
loaded with tools, supplies, and laborers. We descended the Mississippi 
river to the mouth of the St. Croix, and thence ascended the St. Croix 
to the Dalles. We clambered over the rocks to the falls, where we 
made two land claims, covering the falls on the east side and the ap- 
proach in the Dalles. We built a log cabin at the falls, where the upper 
copper-bearing trap range crosses the river, and where the old mill 
was afterward erected. A second log house we built in the Dalles at 
the head of navigation. While we were building, four other parties 
arrived to make claims to the water power. I found the veritable Joe 
Brown on the west side cutting timber and trading with the Indians, 
where now stand9 the town of Taylor's Falls. These were the first 
pine logs cut in the Valley, and they were used mostly in building a 

In February, 1S38, I made a trip from Fort Snelling to Snake river 
via St. Croix Falls, where I had a crew of men cutting logs. While 
I was there, Peshick, an Indian chief, said: "We have no money for 
our land, logs cannot go." He further said *hat he could not control 
his youug men, and would not be resixmsible for tneir acts. The treaty 
was ratified, however, in time for the logs to be moved. 

The following spring we descended the Mississippi river in bark 
canoes to Frairie du Chien, and went thence by steamer to St. Louis. 
There a copartnership was formed, composed of Pitch of Musoatino. 
Iowa, Llbby of Alton. Illinois. Hungerford end Livingstone of st. 

Louis, Missouri. liill and Ifolcombe of Qutncy, Illinois and mysolf. 

We chartered the iteamer Palmyra* loaded her with materials for 

building a saw mill, and took with us thirty-six laborers. Thins for 
procedure, rules, and by-laws, were adopted during the Journey on the 

steamer; our company was named the st. Croix Fails Lumbering Com- 



The steamer Palmyra was the first boat to ply the waters 
of the St. Croix lake and river. On her first trip into the 
Dalles she had an interesting encounter with the Ojibway In- 
dians. As she steamed up between the high rocks, her shrill 
whistle and puffing engine attracted the Indians, who flocked 
in great numbers to the river to see the "scota chenung-' (fire- 
boat). Some of the more daring ones ventured to the high 
- rocks overtowering the boat, as she lay in the eddy opposite 
Angle Rock. Their curiosity knew no bounds. They whooped 
and danced until their frenzied spirits became excited to such 
a degree that they began to roll rocks from the high pinnacle 
down upon the boat. At once the captain ordered the engi- 
neer to let the steam escape, while the whistle screamed with 
broken notes, the bell keeping time. The shrill belching forth 
of the steam was terrific. The Indians sprang away with a 
bound, with fearful yelling, tumbling over the cragged rocks, 
leaving blankets and utensils behind in their fright, and fled 
into the woods in such terror that not an Indian reappeared. 
This was the beginning of steamboating and settlement by the 
whites in the St. Croix valley. 

The St. Croix Falls Lumbering Company, with its boat load 
of men and materials, built a mill and dam, at a cost of about 
$20,000, above the Dalles at the rapids. The company passed 
through many changes. The inexperience of the managers in 
the lumbering business with its necessary expenditures, the 
long distance from labor and supplies, which had to be 
freighted from St. Louis, and the heavy early outlays with no 
profits or dividends, caused several of the partners to with- 
draw, notwithstanding the local advantages for lumbering, a 
splendid water power, abundance of timber, and a healthy 
climate. However, the company continued operations for 
years, with William Hoi combe as agent. 

Captain Holcombe was the first lieutenant governor of 
Minnesota. Ho tools a deep interest in the settlement of the St, 
Croix valley. In 1S-IG he was a member of the Ant constitu- 
tional convention in Wisconsin, in which he worked hard for 

the change of the boundary from the St Crois river to i line 
farther east; he succeeded in making the change, and was 

elected on the boundary issue, which was | political question; 
i but the constitution was defeated by the people. St. Paul 


favored the St. Croix boundary, for she was fearful that, if the 
line was established farther east, Hudson would be her rival 
to become the future capital of the new territory destined to 
be formed northwest of Wisconsin. Lieut. Gov. Holcombe 
was also a member of the Democratic wing of the Minnesota 
constitutional convention, and was United States receiver of 
the land office for four years. His name will long be remem- 
bered in the Valley. He died in 1870. 

The other members of the old company did not become 
residents of the St Croix valley, with the exception of William 
S. Hungerford. Every member of this old company has passed 
away from all that is mortal. 

Mr. Hungerford became a permanent resident of the Val- 
ley when the government offered for sale the land embracing 
the water power. He preempted the subdivision on which 
the old mill stood, and obtained the title from the government 
in 1851. He was arrested for perjury in obtaining the title, 
and was carried to Madison in bonds. This act created liti- 
gation which continued for over twenty years. Mr. Hunger- 
ford was acquitted. 

Hon. John McKusick, of Stillwater, was also connected with 
the St. Croix Lumbering Company as an agent in 1840, during 
the first operations. The entire output of this mill was about 
50,000,000 feet. 


Hon. James Fisher, of Prairie du Chien, a member of the 
Wisconsin territorial council in 18-45, representing Crawford 
county, which covered the area between the St. Croix ami Mis- 
sissippi rivers, introduced a memorial to Congress, to create 
another territory from the northwest part of Wisconsin, to be 
called Superior. The memorial was referred to the Commit- 
tee on Territories, where it still sleeps. 

Hon. Caleb Cushing, of Massachusetts, in L846, purchased 
an interest in the St. Croix Falls property and formed a stork 
company. He firmly believed in the future formation of this 
new territory with boundaries similar to those proposed in the 
Fisher memorial; lie thought that, with liis almost unlimited 
sway in Congress, this result could iu« accomplished and St 
Croix Falls be designated :is the capital. But about this time 


Mr. Cushing was commissioned by the government and en- 
tered the Mexican war. He was subsequently sent as minister 
to China. These and other important duties called away his 
personal attention from the St. Croix property, so that the 
new territory and capital as designed sleep with the Fisher 
memorial. The water power of this property has remained 
unimproved to the present time. It belongs to the estate of 
the late Isaac Staples. The falls are created by the water 
falling over imperishable adamantine rock. 

George W. Brownell, of St. Croix Falls, was delegate from 
this district, in 1S47, to the second Wisconsin constitutional 
convention. He had been elected on the issue of establishing 
the boundary from Mt Trempealeau to Lake Superior, which 
would place the St. Croix valley and the two great cities since 
built at the west end of Lake Superior under one state govern- 
ment. But the edict had gone forth that Wisconsin must be 
admitted into the Union, in order that her Whig vote (which 
was sure) might be cast for Gen. Zachary Taylor for president, 
and that therefore her Morgan L. Martin boundary must not 
be tampered with. Thus was sacrificed, in a considerable de- 
gree, the future welfare of a district capable of sustaining 
half a million or more of people, by placing them under a gov- 
ernment not their first choice. The Wisconsin part of this 
tract of country is adjacent to Minnesota, and its financial 
interests are blended with those of our state; thus time ex- 
poses some of our indiscreet national and state-buildiug 


The first operators in the pine districts of Wisconsin and 
Minnesota were pioneers, who ventured into this now and un- 
explored country for the purpose of cutting timber for a liveli- 
hood, not with the spirit of speculation. They opened tin- 
country for settlement and cultivation, as the vanguard of 
civilization, creating a value for the government domain. 

The government subsequently sent timber ftgentfl to [nvet- 
tigate and report, regarding the cutting <>f timber on these 
uncared-for lands, it was generally conceded to be a benefit 
to the government; it being occupancy under an endowed 



right, as citizens inheriting an interest in the government. In 
many instances where the government demanded payment, the 
demand was prompt^ met by purchasing the denuded lands, 
or by paying a fair compensation for the timber cut. 


There is abundant evidence that extensive pine forests 
once existed where now there are large pine barrens. The 
gradations- from the thrifty pine to barren plains is clearly 
seen. Fires were the main cause, which annually swept over 
large tracts of land, stripping them of the timber by millions 
of feet, a destruction vast and incalculable. 

The physical features of the country have also undergone 
a change due to decrease of the rainfall. While the towering 
pines have fallen by the forest fires or by decay or the wood- 
man's ax, many of the lakes have receded, and tall grasses 
wave and willows grow where once the "kego" sported in the 
clear blue waters. "The sun drew the waters up into the 
heavens," said the Indians; but the old shores may still be 
traced, by the freshwater shells that are crushed by the foot 
of the explorer, and by the ineffaceable mark of water breaking 
upon the beach and undermining the rocky ledges. 


Next to St. Croix Falls, Marine contains the earliest settle- 
ment. Lewis Judd and David Hone were deputized by a com- 
pany of men residing in Marine, Illinois, to visit the North- 
west and examine the region recently secured by treaty from 
theOjibways, and to return the same year and report Upon its 
advantages of climate, soil, and other resources. They were 
authorized also to locate a claim for future settlement, if they 
found one entirely suitable. They embarked on the steamer 
Ariel at St. Louis, September 10th, 1838, and in twenty- live 
days reached the head of lake St. Croix, whence they proceeded 
in a flatboat propelled by poles up the St. Croll as far M the 
falls, and thence to the month of Kettle river. Returning by 
birch canoes, they stopped at the present site of the Tillage of 
Marine; and thence went onward to Marine, Illinois, where 
they arrived November 10th, and reported favoiably on the 
location chosen. 


During the following winter a verbal agreement was made 
by thirteen persons, all of Marine, Illinois, to start in the 
spring and build a sawmill on the distant St. Croix. On April 
27th, this company left St. Louis on the steamer Fayette for 
the new settlement, which they reached on the 13th of May. 
The Fayette was chartered expressly for this voyage. They 
took with them mill machinery, farming tools, household 
goods, three yoke of oxen, and cows. 

The members of the party w T ere Lewis, George, and Albert 
Judd, Orange Walker, David Hone, William B. Dibble, Dr. 
Lucius Green, Asa Parker, Joseph Cottrell, and Hiram Berkey. 
When they landed they found Jeremiah Russell and Levi W. 
Stratton in possession of the claim, -they having taken posses- 
sion during the preceding winter. These men demanded and 
received three hundred dollars for relinquishing the claim to 
its rightful owners. 

The colonists set to work immediately to build a log cabin 
as a temporary shelter, which being completed, they com- 
menced the mill, and worked with such energy that it was 
finished in ninety days. The first wheel used was a flutter- 
wheel, which, not proving satisfactory, was replaced by an 
overshot wheel with buckets. 

Orange Walker was the first clerk and chieftain of the 
concern, and when anything was wanted a call of the company 
would be made, and the members assembled. No article of 
agreement existed. Only one book was kept for a series of 
years, — a unique affair, no doubt. The first installment was 
$200; the second, §75; the third, §50. All were within the 
first two years, after which the company became self-sustain- 
ing. No partner forfeited his stock. The name of this com- 
pany was the Marine Lumber Company, which, in 1850, was 
changed to the Judd & Walker Company. The property 
changed hands several times after this; and Orange Walker 
was the sole owner in 18G3, when the mill was burned at a loss 
of §0,000. This mill, the first that manufactured Lumber in 
the St Croix valley, was operated fifty yean. Beginning work 
in 1839 and continuing until 1889, its groea cut was L97,000,000 
feet. All the thirteen original owners have passed from earth. 

The first jury trial over held in the Valley waa ;U Marino 
in 1840, with Joseph B. Brown 08 justice. Philander PretCOtt, 


plaintiff, and C. D. Foote, defendant. The accusation was for 
jumping a land claim at Prescott. During the trial the court 
adjourned to allow the jury to visit the claim and obtain the 
facts in the case. The jury failed to agree, but the case was 
compromised by Prescott allowing Foote eighty acres of the 

In the early 50's a mill was built at Vasa, a village three 
miles above Marine. It ran only a short time, cutting about 
3,000,000 feet. 


The first land claim at Osceola, covering the beautiful cas- 
cade, was made May 1st, 1844, by Milton V. Nobles and L. N. 
Parker. The claim was made for mill purposes, and a com- 
pany was formed consisting of M. V. and W. H. Nobles, Wil- 
liam Kent, W. O. Mahoney, Anson Northup, and Lewis 
Walker. The mill began operations in 1845, using a fifty-foot 
flutter w r heel, which made the mill a conspicuous object on the 
river. It has long since been dismantled, after changing 
hands a number of times. The approximate cut of lumber was 
35,000,000 feet. The original proprietors, with the exception 
of William Kent, are dead. Captain Kent has been a popular 
steamboat man for a number of years. 

In the 50's a small mill was built above Osceola, which was 
soon afterward moved away; cut, about 3.000,000 feet. 

Col. William H. Nobles, who invested in the Osceola mill 
in 1844, was appointed, in 1857, to locate and mark a road from 
St. Paul to the Missouri river, and thence across the Rocky 
mountains. Under a military escort he established what is 
known as Nobles Pass across the Rockies, his route being 
marked by earth mounds. He came to the St. Croix Valley in 
1844. He was a member of the fifth Minnesota slate legisla- 
ture, and a county in this state bears his name. 


Joseph Renshaw Brown, one of t lie best known men of the 
early days of Minnesota, came with the troops who bnili For( 
Spelling, a drummer boy in the army, in 1819, at the age of 
fourteen. After the expiration of liis term of enlist incut . 1 1 ray 

Cloud was his first home, where Crawford county authorities 



commissioned him a justice of the peace, as also David Hone 
of Point Douglas, in 1839; they being the first persons to hold 
civil office in what is now Minnesota. I can give but a brief 
sketch of his history, for which I am personally indebted to 
him. He was elected, in 1840, representative in the Wisconsin 
territorial legislature from Crawford county, having sought 
the position expressly for the purpose of creating St. Croix 
county, in which he was successful. On returning home, the 
organization was perfected with the aid of the people. 

The first county commissioners' meeting of St. Croix 
county, Wisconsin, now in Minnesota, was held October 5th, 
1840, at Dakotah, now a part of Stillwater. Hazen Mooers 
and Samuel Burkleo appeared and qualified as commissioners; 
J. R. Brown was clerk; H. Mooers was elected chairman; and 
the bonds of the officers were approved. 

In conformity to a vote of the inhabitants of St. Croix 
county, at an election held August 3rd, the county was au- 
thorized by a law of Wisconsin Territory, entitled An Act to 
Organize the County of St. Croix, which was approved Janu- 
ary 9th, 1840. This vote located the seat of the county at the 
head of lake St. Croix, on a tract of land occupied by Joseph 
R. Brown, bounded on the east by lake St. Croix, and on the 
north by Pine creek. Also in conformity to this law, the 
board of commissioners by deed transferred all the right and 
title of the land to Joseph R. Brown, he having paid to the 
treasurer of the county §800. The Board contracted with Mr. 
Brown to build a court house, jail, and county offices, to be 
used four years; and they purchased half an acre of land to be 
selected by the county commissioners, in the central part of 
the town, to be surveyed by the county surveyor. 

The county seat having been located at Dakotah, the or- 
ganization provided for a district court, which Judge Irwin 
of Green Bay was ordered to hold in June, 1840. He ascended 
the Fox river and descended the Wisconsin in a skirl, came 
thence by steamer to Fort Snelling, and from Fort Snelling 
went to Dakotah on fool , with a pilot for a guide. On arriv- 
ing at Dakotah ho found the Bheriff, but no jurors or docket, 
lie stopped at Moid Brown, Blept on deer skins, and ate 
St. Croix fish, seasoned with salt which ho had brought in kia 
pocket. On his return lie succeeded in effecting the disorgani- 
zation of the court. Phineas Lawrence, the siuu itT. on serring 



the first and only papers, while acting as sheriff, approached 
the party, holding- the document to view, and exclaimed, "I, 
Phineas Lawrence, high sheriff of St. Croix county, in the name 
of the United States of America and the immortal God, com- 
mand you to surrender." 

The first term of district court held in St Croix county. 
Wisconsin, convened at Stillwater, June 1st, 1847. .The ses- 
sion lasted one week. The jurors were found in a circuit of 
one hundred miles. Hon. Charles Dunn, of Mineral Point, pre- 
sided, with Joseph R, Brown as clerk of court, M. S. Wilkin- 
son, prosecuting attorney, and W, H. C. Folsom, sheriff. The 
next term of court was held by Judge Aaron Goodrich, a Min- 
nesota territorial appointee, in August, 1849, under the Wis- 
consin territorial laws, two months after the proclamation of 
Gov. Alexander Ramsey was issued, establishing the Territory 
of Minnesota. 

In 1847, while serving as sheriff, I obtained copies of the 
lists of both grand and petit juries of the June term of court, 
which I have in my possession, together with the original log 
scale bills, in the handwriting of the scalers, Gov. William 
Holcombe and Hon. Joseph Bowron. These are supposed to 
be "the first log scale bills made in Minnesota. I also have the 
copies of the, poll lists of several of the first elections held in 
the St Croix valley, containing the names of the candidates; 
and also the sheriff bills of the trial, and conveyance to Fort 
Snelling, of the two Indians, Wind and Ne-she-ke-ogema, who 
were tried for murder in the June term of court in 1847. That 
was the first murder trial in what is now Minnesota. The In- 
dians were acquitted on the ground that the deed was com- 
mitted in a drunken brawl, in which they killed a whisky 


In the spring of 1843, Jacob Fisher made a claim on nnsnr- 
veyed land, where a part of the city of Stillwater now stands. 
Afterwards, this claim was purchased from Mr. Fisher by John 
McKusick, Elam Greely, Elias McKean, and Calvin P, Leach, 
who erected the first sawmill on lake St. Croix April 1st. 
■ 1844, the mill began work, wiih the motive power from the 
water run from a small lake near by, 11 continued operation* 



until about 1862, having cut, during its existence, 27,000,000 

John McKusick, the only surviving partner, prominent 
among the pioneers, came to the Valley in 1840. He has filled 
many positions of trust, being state senator from 1863 to I860. 
He is a generous, public-spirited man. 

Elias McKean, a native of Pennsylvania, and an active and 
friendly man, came to the Valley in 1841 and to' Stillwater in 
3843, retiring to his farm in 1850. 

Calvin F. Leach was a quiet, pleasant business man. He 
died in St Louis. 

Elam Greely, native of New Hampshire, came to the Valley 
in 1840. He was the first postmaster of Stillwater, and was a 
member of the third and fourth Minnesota territorial councils. 
He was identified with the prosperity of Stillwater until his 
death, w 7 hich occurred suddenly away from home. 

The year 1848 brought many changes to the Valley. Wis- 
consin was admitted into the Union, with the St. Croix as her 
northwestern boundary, severing her connection with the Wis- 
consin territory w T est of the St. Croix river. In Stillwater, 
August 4th, was held the first public meeting where were laid 
the foundations of the future Territory and great State of Min- 
nesota. James H. Tweedy, delegate in Congress from the ter- 
ritory, resigned and the people elected Henry H. Sibley as 
their delegate, who was accredited with his seat Mr. Sibley 
introduced and obtained the passage of a bill for the organiza- 
tion of Minnesota Territory, March 3rd, 1849. Mr. Sibley was. 
at the time, a citizen of Iowa Territory. 

Morton S. Wilkinson, who came to Stillwater in IS 17. was 
the first practicing lawyer northwest of Prairie du Chien, and 
was a member of the first Minnesota territorial legislature in 
1849. His history is well known, and it will not avail to Intro 
duce it here. 

The second mill built at Stillwater was by Sawyer ft Ilea 
ton, in 1852, which was afterward burned at a loss of |5,00Q. 
It was transferred to Isaac Staples. The cut of this mill was 
about 150,000,000 feet. 

In 1854, Schulenburg, Boeckler ft Co.. of si. Lnuis. erected 
a mill in Dakotah, now a pari of Stillwater. Louia Eloepea, in 
1856, became an owner and operated the mill until it burned 



in 1877. It was afterward rebuilt, but it burned again in 1S92, 
at a loss of §188,000. The mill is now the property of Staples, 
Atlee & Co., who have built the third mill. The gross amount 
cut by these mills has been 735,600,000 feet. 

Mr. Hospes served as president of the First National Bank 
of Stillwater for twenty years. His active, energetic business 
methods had good influence in Stillwater. 

The firm of Hersey, Staples & Hall, eastern capitalists, 
built a mill in the south part of Stillwater in 1851, which 
passed through several ownerships, with different firm names. 
Hersey & Bean are the present owners, and it is known as the 
Atwood mill. The amount cut by this mill, in forty-four years, 
is 756,000,000 feet Its loss by fire has been §5,000. 

Isaac Staples, a native of Maine, came to Stillwater in 
1853, as the agent for Hersey, Staples & Hall, who made large 
investments in pine lands, carrying on an extensive business. 
After a number of years of successful business, the property 
passed into the hands of Isaac Staples, a man of vigor, health, 
unlimited ambition, good judgment, and money sufficient to 
insure success in business. He did much to advance the in- 
terest of Stillwater. He died in 1S98, aged eighty-two years. 

The number of owners in the Hersey, Staples & Hall mill, 
from the time of its erection to the present, is too numerous 
to refer to. Those living are among the business men of Still- 
water and elsewhere. 

In 1850, a mill was built near the State Prison; it cut 
3,000,000 feet. 

McKusick, Anderson & Co., in 1869, erected a mill opposite 
to Stillwater, in Houlton, Wisconsin. The firm was compost d 
of James Anderson, William McKusick, John Gh Ni ls, mi. and 
Alexander Johnson. During the year 18S8 the capacity of the 
mill was nearly doubled. The present firm is known as the 
East Side Lumber Company, composed of David Bronaoa, K. 
A. Folsom, Robert Slaughter, John G. Nelson. Alow Johnson, 
and J. D. Bronson. The cut of this mill has been 500,000,000 
feet. All the different proprietors who have been OOnnected 
with this mill are so well known in the Valley as men PO eace a 
ing true and reliable character ami business habits, thai it 
will not be necessary to giT€ Individual notes. 


In 1884, The Hershey Lumber Company, composed of Ben- 
jamin Hershey and others, built a mill at Oak Park Village, 
Stillwater. The gross amount cut by this mill up to 1899, has 
been 170,000,000 feet; its loss by fire, §2,500. 

R. W. Turnbull, in 1886, built a mill in Oak Park at a cost 
of $70,000. The gross cut of this mill has been 275,000,000 

In 1852, the first mill was built in South Stillwater, by a 
company composed of Socrates Nelson, David B. Loomis, and 
Daniel Hears. The gross cut by this mill has been 30,000,000 

Socrates Nelson came from Massachusetts to Stillwater in 
1844, where he opened the first store. He was territorial audi- 
tor in 1853, and was state senator in the second legislature. 
He donated to Washington county the block of land on which 
the court house stands. He was free and generous of disposi- 
tion in all the relations of life. 

The successors to the S. Nelson Lumber Co. were Torinus 
& Co., who rebuilt the mill in 1873, at a cost of §150,000, and 
assumed the name St. Croix Lumber Co. This mill became 
the head of various manufactories, with Louis Torinus and 
William Chalmers as operating members of the firm. In 1S7G, 
it sustained a loss by fire to the amount of §75,000, uninsured. 
The present operators of this mill are William Chalmers, G. S. 
Welchance, and Louis Torinus. Its cut, to 1899, has been 
050,000,000 feet. 

Louis Torinus, an active business man, was a Russian. He 
tame to America in 1854, and to Stillwater in 1856. William 
Chalmers, the present manager of the firm, came to the Val- 
ley in 1854 from Canada. He is president of the firm. Mr. 
Torinus is vice president, and Mr. Welchance is secretary and 

In 1881, D. C. Gasliu,and L. B. Castle built a. mill in South 
Stillwater, which they operated for three years, cutting 18.- 
000,000 feet. In 1884, this mill was rebuilt, at a coat ot *70.- 
000, by the South Stillwater Lumber Co., tin* firm consisting 
of Smith Ellison, David Toser, A. T. Jenks, E. w. Durant, ami 

B. .1. Wheeler. Since that time ihe mill has passed through 

many changes. The cut of this mill to L899 has been 200,000, 
000 feet. 


David Tozer, one of the proprietors, came from New Bruns- 
wick to the Valley in 1856. He is an active, cautious, and 
honorable man. Mr. Jenks, one of Stillwater's prompt busi- 
ness men, came to the Valley in 1855. Smith Ellison, of Illi- 
nois birth, came to the Valley in 1844. He was a member of 
the eighth Minnesota legislature, and is now a trustworthy 
citizen of Taylors Falls. Edward W. Durant, born in Rox- 
bury, Mass., in 1829, came to Stillwater in 1848. He repre- 
sented Washington county in the fifteenth, seventeenth, and 
twenty-fourth legislatures; he has served as mayor of Still- 
water often, and has filled many responsible positions with 


In 1857, Osgood & Andrews built a mill in Lakeland, which 
was soon after dismantled. Its gross cut was 10,000,000 feet 

In Lakeland in 1848, Moses Perin and Ballard & Reynolds 
each built a mill. The cut of these mills was 11,000,000 feeL 
Lakeland was first settled by French refugees from Fort Snell- 
ing reservation in 1838. 

Stearns, Watson & Co. erected a mill in Lakeland at a cost 
of $45,000. This mill changed hands many times, finally pass- 
ing to G. N. Nelson, who enlarged it at a cost of §50,000. It 
is now dismantled. Gross amount cut by this mill, 150,000,- 
000 feet. 

In 1886, Fall & McCoy built a mill in Lakeland, which cut 
about 155,000,000 feet; present proprietor, R. H. McCoy. 

In 1854, a mill was built at St Mary's; cut, 3,000,000 feet 

Lowry & Co. built a mill in Afton, in 1S50; Getchell & Co., 
in 1861, built a mill, which was afterward burned, Loss, (3,000. 
In 1855, Thomas & Sons rebuilt the Lowry mill. Gross cut of 
these mills, 15,000,000 feet. 

Lemuel Bolles, in 1846, built a flouring mill on Bolles creek 
in Afton, St. Croix county, and ground the first wheat raised 
north of Prairie du Chien. The wheat was raised by Joseph 
Haskell and Andrew Mackey, at Afton. 

At Foint Douglas, which was located and named by Lfcfi 
Hertzell and Oscar Burria in L839, Woodruff & Bona built n 
mill in 1851; but it was afterward removed to Prescott Cul 
of this mill, 3,000,000 feet. A. J. Short built a mill in 1858, 


which was burned at a loss of §6,000. The cut of this mill 
was about 20,000,000 feet. 

David Hone, one of the original proprietors of the Marine 
mill, says that he built the first frame house in Minnesota, at 
Point Douglas, in 1843. 


Philander Prescott came to Fort Snelling in 1819, and, in 
conjunction with army officers, made a land claim where the 
city of Prescott now stands, on the Wisconsin side of the 
mouth of the St. Croix. He subsequently became sole owner, 
residing there and at Fort Snelling alternately, until he was 
killed by the Sioux Indians in 1862. 

In 1856, mills were built at Prescott by Silverthorn & Dud- 
ley, Lowry & Co., and Todd & Hunter. Cut of these mills, 
45,000,000 feet; loss of mills by fire, §10,000. 


The first mill that was built on the Apple river, an eastern 
tributary of the St. Croix, was by Aaron M. Chase, at the out- 
let of Balsam lake, eight miles east of St. Croix Falls, in 1850. 
He had neither oxen nor horses, but he yoked himself with an- 
other man and hauled the timber for the mill, which has 
changed owners many times. It has cut about 15,000,000 feet. 
Mr. Chase has a varied history; prior to mill building, he was 
on the Mississippi river running towboats for eighty miles 
above St Anthony Falls. There have been two mills on Bal- 
sam creek; gross cut, 12,000,000 feet. 

An Indian entered one of the homes at Balsam Lake 
and demanded of the woman within, Mrs. Edward Worth, 
who was alone, admittance to the cellar, believing that there 
was whisky there." The woman was plucky and sternly re- 
fused him admittance. He attempted to raise the trap-door 
and force an entrance, but as he was passing down the stairs 
the woman shut the door upon his legs and Jumped on it. hold- 
ing him until assistance came. 

Samuel Harriman, a native of Maine, came to tlio Valley 
In 1855, and was the founder of Somerset village on the Apple 
river, where he built and owned a sawmill. We first learn ol 

him, in 1845, in California, mining and lumbering. Ho en- 
listed In the army in 18C2, June LOth, in Company A of the 



Thirtieth Wisconsin Regiment. In 18G4, he was commis- 
sioned colonel of the Thirty-seventh Wisconsin, being after- 
ward comimissioned a general. He was a brave soldier, and a 
genial, kind-hearted gentleman. He was fond of a joke, even 
at his own expense. He informed the writer of this sketch 
that when he was mustered out of the service, he was ad- 
dressed as General at Washington; on his way home, he was 
saluted as Colonel; when nearing Wisconsin, he was hailed 
as Major; in Wisconsin, as Captain; but when he met the 
boys, they greeted him with "Hello, Sam." He died in 1807 
at Hot Springs, Arkansas. 

In 1848-49, James Purinton, as the agent for a Boston conir 
pany, built a mill and dam at the mouth of Willow river in 
North Hudson, at a cost of about $25,000. Both mill and dam 
were burned in 18G2; loss, $15,000. The gross cut of the mill 
was about 35,000,000 feet 

In 1856, J. W. Peers built a mall in Hudson, which passed 
through many ownerships, being rebuilt in 18S3 by H. A. Tay- 
lor, C. R. Coon, M. Herrick, and others, at a cost of $45,000. 
In 1889, the company was organized into the Hudson Sawmill 
Company. Gross cut during the first thirty-three years, 198,- 
000,000 feet; during the last nine years, 108,000,000; total, 
306,000,000. This mill had a loss by fire, in 1873, of $10,000. 
In 1899, it is a stock company with a capital of $55,000, com- 
posed of O. K. and J. T. Ingram, of Eau Claire, Wis., C. L. 
Chamberlain, of Minneapolis, Minn., A. E. Richard, of Mason, 
Wis., and G. P. De Long, of Hudson, Wis. There were four 
mills in Hudson, built in the 50's and GO's; their cut was about 
20,000,000 feet. 

Horace A. Taylor came to the Valley in 1850, from Norfolk, 
New Jersey; a man of enterprise and energy, quick perception, 
and ready wit. In 1881, he was appointed by President Gar- 
field as consul at Marseilles, France. 

In 1852, Joseph Bowron built a mill above Willow River 
Palls; cut, 6,000,000 feet At the same place, in 1868, Ohftrlefl 
Buckhart built a mill; cut, 10.000.000 feet 

The Lord Brothers, in 1872, built a mill in Glenniount, 
Wis., which changed hands a number of times, being remod- 
eled by Pennington & Harper j ^mss cut, 175,000,000 feet, 
Millsonthe Kinnikinic have cut 8,000,000 feet 



Joseph Bowron came to the Valley in 1841. He was a 
strong advocate for the St. Croix boundary, and was a candi- 
date for both Wisconsin constitutional conventions, but was 
defeated. He contested successfully the seat of William R. 
Marshall, a citizen of St Croix Falls, Wis., who had received 
the certificate of election as representative to the first session 
of the Wisconsin legislature; but Bowron defeated Marshall 
by the legislature rejecting the vote west of the St. Croix lake 
and river. 

At New Richmond, Wis., in 1857, D. C. Foster and Silas 
Staples built a mill which was operated by water power; cut, 
about 15,000,000 feet. 

In 1884, William Johnson, James Johnson, John C. Glover, 
and Jacobson & Sons, built a mill on Willow river, at a cost of 
?75,000. The gross cut of this mill, up to 1899, has been 180,- 
000,000 feet. William Johnson gave me much information 
about this and other mills. He has been a resident of the 
Valley for over forty years. 

S. A. Jewett built a mill on the Willow river six miles 
above New Richmond, in 1862; cut, 15,000,000 feet. 

The Glenwood mill, built in 1884 on the Wisconsin Central 
railroad, has cut 35,000,000 feet. The Boardman mill, on Wil- 
low river, has cut 5,000,000 feet. 

In 1888, a mill was built at Amery, on the Apple river, by 
L E. Schneider. It was burnt in 1893 at a loss of §10,000, 
and was rebuilt by the present owner, John E. Glover; cut, 
about 73,000,000 feet. A mill was built by Harriman & Sta- 
ples on Apple river; cut, 6,000,000 feet The Star Prairie mill 
has cut 5,000,000 feet; the Somerset mill, 5,000,000 feet; and 
the Little Falls mill, 3 ,000,000 feet. 

Charles Buckhart, in 1874, built a mill at Black Brook. 
Wis., cut, 15,000,000 feet. He also built a mill at. Marsh Lake 
station; cut, 25,000,000 feet. 

Israel Graves, in 1875, built a mill at Clear Lake, which 
has changed hands many times, being rebuilt by John E. 
Glover in 18S0; pross cut, 25,000,000 feet ; loss by fire, $10,000. 

The Jewett mill, three miles from Clear Lake, has cut 30, 
000,000 feet. 

P. B. Lacy & Johnson built a mill ;it Pinovillo in 1880 J rut. 
about 40,000,000 feet; loss by fire, on tlio mill and railroad 
timber, £10,000. 


A letter from F. E. Catlin states that a mill was located at 
Clayton in 1875 ; and that it cut out in 18S9, having cut about 
110,000,000 feet. The mill was built and operated by Humbird 
& Co. ■ • 


The following mills were located on the Chicago, St. Paul, 
Minneapolis and Omaha railway: 

The Turtle Lake mill, built in 1878 by S. Eichardson, cut 
40,000,000 feet; a mill built by John W. Perley in 1S79 cut 
65,000,000 feet; and the Sprague mill, built in 18S3, cut 40,- 
000,000 feet E, Corbett built a mill at Comstock in 1884; cut, 
4,000,000 feet. Three mills at. Cumberland, in the SO's, cut 
100,000,000 feet on the St. Croix waters; loss by fire, §130,000. 
The Barronett mill, built in 1880, was destroyed by fire in 1S94 
at a loss of §275,000; insurance, §135,000. The cut of this 
mill was 150,000,000 feet, its St. Croix cut being 125,000,000. 
Other mills on the Omaha railway cut 16,000,000 feet. 

John W. Perley, of Maine birth, came to the Valley in 1S54. 
By his kindness I have been able to gather much information 
about the mills on the Omaha railway. 

The Shell Lake Lumber Company was organized in 1SS0, 
under Iowa laws, and was composed of C. Lamb and Daniel 
Joice, of Clinton, Iowa, David Norton & Co., of Winona, Minn., 
Weyerhaeuser & Co., of Eock Island, 111., and others. They 
have a capital stock of §500,000; have sixty-three tenement 
houses; and employ two hundred and fifty men. This com- 
pany's mill cut, up to 1S99, is 450,000,000 feet; from land drain- 
ing to the St. Croix, 225,000,000 feet I am indebted to W. E. 
Bourne, the present manager of this mill and former manager 
of the Barronett mill, for the information concerning the Shell 
Lake and Barronett mills. These two mills cut their timber 
on the dividing ridge between the St. Croix and Chippewa 

At Ilayward, situated on the Namekagan river, in Sawyer 
county, Wis., the North Wisconsin Lumber Company was or- 
ganized October 28th, 1881, with a capital of f450>000, In 
equal interests, namely: W. EL Laird, M. G. Norton, and .1. L. 
Norton, of Winona, Minn.; F. Weyerhaeuser, of si. Paul, 

Minn.; R. L. McCorinnck, of Waseca. Minn.; and A. .1. Bay- 



ward, of Chippewa Falls, Wis. The mill began operations 
June 4th, 18S3, and has continued for sixteen seasons; total 
cut, up to 1899, 540,000,000 feet. In a letter from R. L. Mc- 
Cormack, vice president of the Wisconsin Historical Society, 
he says: "If any other data are desired, I will be at your 
service; for I fully appreciate the fact that the vast wealth of 
the timber country will in a few years live only in the history 
you and others may write.'' Mr. McCormack was formerly a 
resident of Minnesota, being state senator from Waseca county 
in 1881. He is a man of quiet demeanor, attentive to duties, 
with good business qualifications. 


In the early 50's a mill was built by the Munch Brothers 
at Chengwatana. It was operated by water power, and much 
of the lumber was floated down the St. Croix river; gross cut, 
4,000,000 feet. 

James S. Ferson built the first mill at Pine City in 1871. 
It has passed through many hands, and has sustained two 
losses by fire, to the amount of §75,000. The gross cut of this 
mill has been about 33,000,000 feet Hiram Brackett erected 
a mill in the 70's; cut, about 7,000,000 feet. Webber & Bur- 
ger afterward built a mill, which cut about 5,000,000 feet. H. 
J. Rath also built a mill, which cut 2,000,000 feet. Several 
small mills in the vicinity of Pine City, not including portable 
mills, cut about 11,000,000 feet. These mills were all located 
in Pine county. 

Two mills were built at Rush City; cut, about 5,000,000 
feet; loss by fire, $3,000. The Martin mill, at Rushseba, cui 
about 3,000,000 feet. Lee's mill, at Rush lake, cut about 3,000,- 
000 feet. The Sunrise City mill cut about 2,000,000 feet 

During the 70's and 80's five mills were erected at Rook 
Creek; their cut was about 41,000,000 feet; loss by fire, two 
mills, $9,500. 

The Mission Creek mill, first operated by Hunter ft Taylor, 
was burned twice, with losses of about |32,000. Its gross Cot 
was about L70,000,000 feet. Its last proprietors were Capt 
John Martin, Philip Riley, and Frank C. ami John l>. Laird. 

D. C. Grant's mill, near Hinckley, built in L878, rut about 
2,000,000 feet. 



The Hinckley mill, first owned by William H. Grant, cut 
70,000,000 feet. It was rebuilt and cut, in five and a half 
years, 140,000.000 feet. Subsequently, in seven years, it cut 
70,000,000 feet. It was burned in 1894, at a loss of §25,000. 

William H. Grant, the founder of the Hinckley mill, is a 
man of worthy ambition, very alert, and a practical everyday 

The founders of these many manufacturing establish- 
ments, on the St. Paul & Duluth and Eastern railroads, are an 
indefatigable class of men. We have not space to give a 
sketch of these many useful citizens. 

To Fred A. Hodge I am greatly indebted for valuable data 
regarding the Mission Creek, Hinckley, and other mills. He 
gladly left his business to give me the information needed. 
Mr. Hodge came to the state early in the 70's, and has always 
been interested in the lumbering business. He is a genial 
man, worthy and public spirited, and has served four years in 
the state senate. 

The Brown and Robie mill, at Miller station, cut about 
2,000,000 feet; loss by fire, §3,000. D. M. Finlaysons mill cut 
about 75,000,000 feet. The Pine River mill, owned by Wyinan 
X. Folsom, cut about 15,000,000 feet 

The Rutledge mill, located on Kettle river and owned by 
Weyerhaeuser, Sauntry & Rutledge, was built in 1SSG; gross 
cut in twelve years, 210,000,000 feet. 

The two mills at Moose Lake have been owned by McAr- 
thur & Co., Fox & Wisdom, and others; cut, about 140,000,000 
feet; loss by fire, §30,000. 

Two mills at Barnum have cut about 1S0,000,000 feet; loss 
by fire, $5,000. 

Three mills at Mattawa have cut about 80,000,000 foot. 
Two mills at Groundhouse and Rice Lake have cut about 
3,000,000 feet. 

The Atwood Lumber Co., successors to Fox, Wisdom A Oo^ 
consisting of George H. Atwood, William Sauntry. and Wey- 
erhaeuser & Dinkman, built a mill in 1894, on Bection 2, town- 
ship 44, range 20. The gross out. of this mill, to IS!)!), lias been 
150,000,000 foot. Mr. Atwood is a genial, Intelligent man. Hois 
a native of Maine and came to the Vallej \ n L883, Mr, Saun- 
try Is a native of New Brunswick; he came to the Valley in 


1854. He has shown himself to be a practical lumberman. 
Weyerhaeuser and Dinkman are of German descent and are 
i good substantial men. 

The following mills are on the Eastern railway: The Sand- 
stone mill has cut about 5,000,000 feet; and the Mora mill 
about 2,000,000 feet. The Partridge mills, three in number, 
owned by Kerrick & Co. and others, have cut 25,000,000 feet; 
and the Nickerson mill, 127,000,000 feet. 


Passing beyond the boundary of the St Croix basin, I have 
gathered some information of the history of lumbering in 
northeastern Minnesota, at the west end of lake Superior and 
on the St Louis river, which is here briefly stated, for the pur- 
pose of giving somewhat completely the records of this great 
industry throughout the east part of our state. 

The sawmills of West Duluth, up to the year 1886, inclu- 
sive, had manufactured 160,000,000 feet of lumber; and their 
product to the present time is probably about 1,000,000,000 

At Thomson, a mill was built in 1873 by A. M. Miller, and 
was operated many years; its gross cut was at least 10,000,000 
feet. Another mill, six males northwest of Thomson, owned 
by A. K. Lovejoy, cut 5,000,000 feet or more. Both these inilU 
are now dismantled. 

Carlton has had four sawmills on the same site, the first 
being built in 1870. Their total product is estimated as 400.- 
000,000 feet The present mill is owned by J. M. Paine. 

The first mill in Cloquet, at the head of the rapids and 
falls of the St Louis river, was built in 1S78 by Charles D. 
Harwood. It was rebuilt in 1SS3 by the Knife Falls Lumber 
Company. In 18S0 two other steam sawmills were built here 
by C. N. Nelson & Co.; and a water power mill by James 
Paine, McNair & Co. Other mills have been built later. The 
aggregate lumber product of Cloquet to the present time is es- 
timated to be at least 1,000,000,000 feet, equalling or exceed- 
ing that of Duluth. 

•Much lumber has been sawn also at various localities 09 
the Mesabi and Vermilion iron ranges, including about it.v 
000,000 feet at Tower and Ely and in their vicinity, 



In 1872', Daniel F. Smith built a mill at Clam River Falls, 
Wis., which was burned in 1887 at a loss of §3,000; cut, 2,000,- 
000 feet. He also built a mill at Butternut Lake; cut, about 
2,000,000 feet. Mr. Smith is a plain, frank man. He has filled 
many positions with ability and faithfulness. He came to the 
Valley in the early fifties. 

In the winter of 1848, an Indian trader came to my log- 
ging camp near Clam Falls, with a packer and two kegs of 
whisky. Twenty Indians soon arrived, gaudily painted and 
feathered. They demanded the whisky, but were refused, as I 
would not allow drinking at my camp. They were about to 
seize the kegs, when I ordered two of my men to carry the 
whisky out of camp; and as soon as they had done so, I burst 
both kegs with an axe, letting the whisky mingle with the 
snow. The Indians licked up the snow, and then surrounded 
me, hooting and dancing in a circle, calling me "Ogema, 
Ogema," meaning brave. I gave them something to eat, and 
they left for their wigwams ten miles away. 

Burnett county was named in honor of a genial, kind- 
hearted and talented lawyer, Thomas P. Burnett of Prairie du 
Chien. He was a Kentuckian by birth, and was a prominent 
man in the northwestern counties of Wisconsin during the 
30's, 40's, and 50's. Grantsburg, the county seat of Burnett 
county, was founded in 1865, by Hon. Canute Anderson, who 
built a mill in the Wood river valley. Several other mills 
were also erected. The total cut of these mills is estimated 
at 25,000,000 feet. 

•Mr. Anderson was the first postmaster in Burnett county. 
In 1878 he represented his district in the Wisconsin legisla- 
ture, and it was mostly through his efforts that the Grantsburg 
branch of the St. Paul & Duluth railroad was built. His 
home was a resort and intelligence office for the Bettlers, 
strangers in a new land; he assisted many a poor and needy 
family, He was accidentally and instantly killed in 1886. 

Robidcau, a mixed-blood Indian, murdered .lark Drake at 
Wood Lake, Burnett county. Having boon arrested and 
placed in confinement at St Croix Falls, he jumped with one 
bound about fifty feet from a second story window, p a s se d 


over the watchman's head and made for the woods, making 
good his escape. Within a few days afterward he murdered 
Alex Livingstone; but he was never arrested. Drake and 
Livingstone were whisky venders. 

At Wood Lake, Burnett county, Wisconsin, lived in 1874 
an aged and blind Indian woman who calculated her pilgrim- 
age on earth by moons. All traces of her traditional beauty 
as an Indian maiden had long since departed. Shriveled, de- 
crepit, bent, she was the impersonation of all that is unlovely 
and repulsive in old age. Taciturn and sullen, her mind le- 
thargic and dull, she seemed but little more than half alive, 
and could not be easily aroused to the comprehension of pass- 
ing events, or to the recognition .of those around her. She 
must have been very old. W r hen aroused to consciousness, 
which was but seldom, she would talk of things long past. A 
light would come into her sightless eyes, as she recounted the 
traditions or described the manners and customs of her peo- 
ple, speaking with evident pride of their ancient power and 
prowess when her people planted their tepees on the shores of 
the "shining big sea water" (lake Superior) and drove their 
enemies, the Dakotas, before them. Her people wore blankets 
made from the skins of the moose, elk, and buffalo, with caps 
from skins of otter and beaver. There was then an abundance 
of "kego" (fish) and "washkisk" (deer). There were no pale- 
faces then in all the land to drive them from their tepees and 
take their hunting grounds. Of course they had seen occa- 
sional whites, hunters, trappers, and missionaries; but the 
formidable movements of the now dominant race had not 
fairly commenced. Counting the years of her life on her lin- 
gers, so many moons representing a year, she must have num- 
bered a score beyond a century; and she had consequent ly 
witnessed, before her eyes were dimmed, the complete spolia- 
tion of her people's ancestral domain. 


The Inter-State Fark, which covers the wonderful rock 
formations on the Minnesota side of the st. Croli river, and 
which has been tastefully Improved, with the limited 

in hand, by the superintendent, George EL Hansard, waa fit 

tablished in 1805. Wisconsin ami Minnesota share equally in 


this grand upheaval of trap rocks, which form the Dalles. 
They are unquestionably the most interesting volcanic erup- 
tions east of the Rocky mountains. The testimony of thou- 
sands verifies this statement. Miss Fredrika Bremer, the well 
known Swedish novelist, an intelligent traveller, visited the 
Dalles in 1849 and pronounced them, in the hearing of the 
writer, "One of God's beauteous spots of earth." 

Adjacent to the Dalles are the ancient battlefields of the 
Sioux and Ojibway Indians. The rocks and hills of the St. 
Croix Valley, from the source of the river to its mouth, have 
often been stained with Indian blood. Your worthy presi- 
dent, in one of his addresses before this Society, pronounced 
the tract between the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers a Gol- 
gotha, a place of skulls. But now, with the exception of a 
few Indians about the head of the river, all have departed; 
some have gone to homes in the west, but most of them to an 
unknown land. 

In 1857 a mill was built in Taylor's Falls by Kingman & 
Gurley. It was removed in 1880; its cut was about 22,000,000 
feet. The Clark Brothers built a mill in the 60's, but it was 
soon afterward removed; cut, about 5,000,000 feet 

Ansel Smith erected a mill at Franconia in 1852, which 
passed through many hauds. The original owner died in Du- 
luth. This mill was burned in 1SS9 at a loss of $3,000. Its 
cut was about 20,000,000 feet. 

In 1847 the St. Croix Falls precinot covered both sides of 
the St. Croix river. Jerry Ross, living on the other side of the 
river x from Taylor's Falls, was elected justice of the peace. 
One day a gentleman called on Jerry and found him delivering 
a charge to a jury of twelve men in a basswood grove. Twelve 
jurors, good steadfast men, were marked lifelike on twelve 
basswood trees. Jerry Ross said to his visitor, "If you are 
the defendant in this case, you are too late; the case is de- 
cided, and the jury discharged." 

In 1851, a Mr. Thilbrook, from Hudson, came to St. Croix 
Falls to get married. Not finding anyone authorised to per- 
forin the ceremony, he <-ast. loose a rait of lumber from tho 
Wisconsin shore, and Hon. Ansel Smith of St. Crop: precinct 

Washington county, united them in marriage. Another party, 


of Taylor's Falls, desiring matrimony, crossed the St Croix 
on the ice and climbed to the highest pinnacle of trap rock, 
and were there pronounced man and wife by a Wisconsin 


In 1846-47, Martin Mower, David B. Loomis, Joseph Brew- 
ster, and W. H. C. Folsom, built the Areola mill on a land 
claim owned by W. H. C. Folsom. It began operations in May, 
1847. Martin Mower afterward became the sole owner and 
erected another mill in 1852. This property is owned, in 1S90, 
by the heirs of John E. Mower. The probable cut of the two 
mills has been 15,000,000 feet. .W. H. C. Folsom is the only 
surviving member of the firm. 

Martin and John E. Mower came to the Valley in 1840, 
where they were prominent business men, Martin Mower being 
one of the founders of the St. Croix Boom Company. He built 
a large block in Stillwater. John E. Mower represented the 
counties of Washington, Chisago, and Pine, in the fifth and 
sixth territorial councils, and again in the seventeenth state 
legislature. The Minnesota territorial legislature affixed his 
name to a county. 

David B. Loomis was a well known man, being a member 
of the territorial council for four years, from 1851 to 1855, and 
president of the council one session. He entered the army in 
1861 as a lieutenant in Company F, Second Minnesota; was 
promoted as a captain; and served three and a half years. 
In 1873 he represented Washington county in the legislature. 


The Nevers dam was built in 1891, ten miles above St. 
Croix Falls, at a cost of $1S0,000. The length of the dam is 
1,000 feet; it has a flowage of ten miles, and a possible head of 
seventeen feet The purpose of this dam is to hold the an- 
nual cut of logs, and to supply the water, held in the extonsi\o 
reservoir, for driving the logs to the St. Croix boom. The in- 
tention was to aid navigation and not to Impede it. Litiga- 
tion is the result of the building of the dam. Before the dan 

was built, navigation was Impeded by the millions of logl till- 

: V 



ing the river annually above the boom; but the holding of the 
water above the dam leaves the river, during much of the year, 
without its usual natural flow. The incorporators of the dam 
are Sauntry, Weyerhaeuser, McClure, Tozer, the Maloy broth- 
ers, and others. 


The St. Croix Boom Company was organized in 1857, with 
a capital stock of $25,000. The incorporators were Orange 
Walker and George B. Judd of Marine; John McKusick, Soc- 
rates Nelson, and Levi B. Churchill, of Stillwater; Daniel 
Mears and William Kent, of Osceola; and W. H. C. Folsom, 
of Taylor's Falls. The boom was built near Osceola. In 1866 
the company was reorganized by Martin Mower, W. H. C. Fol- 
som, Isaac Staples, C. Carli, and Samuel Burkleo, with a capi- 
tal stock of |50,000. The boom was removed to Still w r ater. 

Much litigation ensued from the blockading of the river 
and impeding navigation, which caused damages in one season 
to the estimated amount of §146,525. Controversies arose as 
to the jurisdiction of the St. Croix river; it is the state bound- 
ary, and hence both states claimed concurrent power. 

The officers of the Boom Company receive a fair salary, and 
are competent to attend to the multitude of log marks. It 
may not be amiss to explain briefly the system of log marks. 
It is a language in itself. There are over two thousand marks 
recorded, in distinct and different characters. Every owner 
must have his mark recorded or lose his logs. A law has been 
passed protecting the ownership of recorded marks. 

In 1843, a rise of water in the St. Croix river broke the log 
boom at St. Croix Falls, and about 400,000 feet of logs floated 
down to St. Croix lake. Thence they were rafted down the 
river by John B. Page, and were sold to Thomas West of St 
Louis, Mo. This was the first raft of logs run from the St. 
Croix river to the lower markets. Rafts of sawn lumber were 
run earlier, from the Marine mill in 1889, and from the Si. 
Croix Falls mill in 1842. A part of the first lumber sawn .it 
Stillwater, in 1844, was also rafted south. During recent 
years, on an average, over three hundred and twenty rafts of 

logs and lumber are annually floated out of lake St. Croix to 
southern markets. 




That this paper may include mention of the beginnings of 
the lumber industry at other places in this state south of the 
St. Croix valley, I have obtained the following notes of saw- 
mills in St. Paul, Hastings, Red Wing, and elsewhere south- 
ward to Winona The Red Wing mills have depended mainly, 
and those farther south in a considerable degree, on the St. 
Croix lumbermen for their supplies of logs. 

In St. Paul a sawmill was built in the early 50's by John S. 
Prince, on the bank of the Mississippi river a short distance 
east of the site of the Union railway depot. After cutting 
about a million feet of lumber, it was sold to William G-. Le 
Due and w r as removed by him to Hastings. 

Other sawmills in and near St. Paul during the fifteen 
years following 1850 were as follows: In 1851, John R. Irvine 
built a sawmill on the upper levee, near the foot of Eagle 
street, which continued in operation until 1858, sawing about 
1,000,000 feet of lumber yearly. About the year 1S55, J. B. 
Holmes erected a small sawmill near the spot where the 
Union depot now stands. William L. Ames built a mill near 
the foot of Dayton's bluff, which commenced operations about 
the year 1856 and continued four years, sawing about 1,250,000 
feet of lumber each year, until it was torn down in 18G0. 
About 500 feet below the Ames mill, the Sanford mill was 
erected in 1856, which continued in operation three years, 
sawing, like the last, about 1,250,000 feet each year. In the 
same year, 1856, Stuart, Cobb & Company erected a mill on 
the upper levee, 500 or 600 yards above the Irvine mill, and 
nearly opposite Sherman street. This mill continued in opera- 
tion four years, sawing about 2,000,000 feet per annum. It 
was destroyed by fire in 1S60. During the year 1857, Henry 
P. Upham and Col. Chauncey W. Griggs operated the old Ful- 
ler sawmill, which stood near the upper levee, on the ground 
now occupied by the Minnesota Soap Company, sawing 1,000,- 
000 feet of lumber. In 1858, Mr. Upham bought a small mill 
that had been built on the west side of the Mississippi river, 
just below where the Wabasha Street bridge now stands; and 
he and Freeman James operated this mill about six years, 

sawing, each year, about feet of Lumber. At r 


Eye, William Davis and Joe Deion operated a sawmill from 
18G1 to 1865. 

Another sawmill was built in St. Paul about the year 1870 
by Louis Krieger and John M. Keller, on Phalen creek just 
-above the St. Paul and Duluth railroad depot. It operated 
three years andjnanufactured about three million feet of lum- 
ber, using logs brought by this railroad from townships 36, 
"37, and 38, in range 21, which include Harris, Rush City„ and 
Rock Creek stations. 

The pioneer lumberman of Hastings was William G. Le 
Due, who in 1856 built a saw T mill beside the Mississippi river 
■at the west edge of the city, where now stands the great mill 
•of Libbey & Thompson. He purchased his first mill machin- 
ery in Ohio, but it proved a failure and was v replaced by the 
machinery from Prince's mill in St. Paul. This mill manu- 
factured about 5,000,000 feet of lumber. 

In the autumn of the same year 1856 another mill was 
built in Hastings, by Phelps, Graham, and Knapp. It was 
situated on the slough at the east end of the city. After oper- 
ating three years, it was sold to A. J. Short, who removed it 
to Point Douglas. 

A sawmill that was built by Bullard & Post in 1853 at 
Wacouta, a few miles east of Red Wing, appears to have been 
the first west of the Mississippi in this state, excepting the 
small mill that supplied lumber for the construction of Fort 
Snelling. The Wacouta mill operated five years, and sawed 
about 5,000,000 feet of lumber. 

The first mill at Red Wing was built in 1855 by Pettibone & 
Knapp. This mill, after sawing about 6,000,000 feet, was sold 
in 1861 to Cogel & Betcher, by whom it was rebuilt. Their 
product during the years 1861 to 1S75 was at least 70,000,000 
feet. In 1875 this property passed to the ownership of 
-Charles Betcher, who estimates his production of lumber from 
that date until now to be 1S0,000,000 feet or more. 

In 1857, Grannis, Daniels & Company built another saw 
mill at Red W r ing, which continued in operation thirty-two 
years, under successive owners, being finally burned li s 
gross cut is estimated as a1 least 130,000,000 feet 



A third mill, built here also in 1857, by a Boston capitalist 
named Drew, sawed only half a million feet, when its work 
ceased on account of the financial panic of that year. This 
mill building, removed a short distance, is now in use as the 
railway freight house. 

In 1856 and later, sawmills have been operated at Fronte- 
nac and Central Point, their product being probably about 
10,000,000 feet. 

At Read's Landing, in the autumn of 1854, William R. 
Marshall, Joseph M. Marshall, and X. P. Langford, erected a 
mill which cut about 1,200,000 feet of lumber. Then the prop- 
erty was sold, in the summer of 1855, to Knapp, Tainter and 
Wilson, lumbermen of Menomonie, Wisconsin, who enlarged 
the mill and continued to operate it several years, until it was 
destroyed by fire. 

In Winona the first sawmill was one of small capacity, 
built by Highlands & Wyckoff in the fall of 1855. It was 
burned five years afterward. The next sawmill was erected 
in 1857 by Laird, Norton & Company, who continue still in 
business. Their mill was rebuilt in 1S79; and it was de- 
stroyed by fire, and was rebuilt again on a very large scale, in 
1885. The third mill was built in 1858 by the Youmans Broth- 
ers, and was rebuilt in 1881, being now one of the largest and 
best equipped sawmills in this state. With these, since 1881, 
this city has had the large mill of the Winona Lumber Com- 
pany; and, since 18S2, that of the Empire Lumber Company. 

The production of lumber in Winona, according to esti- 
mates supplied to me by Hon. Thomas Simpson and Mr. W. H. 
Laird, has been approximately as follows: During the years 
1858 to 1868, inclusive, about 1G0,000,000 feet; in the next ton 
years, 325,000,000 feet; in the next decade, 1,150,000,000 feet; 
and in the last ten years, 1889 to 1S9S, inclusive, about 1,400.- 
000,000 feet. The total for these forty-one years has been thus 
about 3,035,000,000 feet of sawn lumber; to which should In- 
added a large value of laths and shingles. 

During the years 1858 to 1870 the logs used in sawing at 
Winona came largely from the St. Croix river and its tribu- 
taries. Since 1870 they have mostly come from the Chippewa 



river of Wisconsin. In 1871 the Beef Slough, branching from 
the Chippewa near its mouth and continuing beside the Missis- 
sippi almost to Winona, began to be used for running the 
Chippewa logs and making them into rafts, uuder the control 
of the Mississippi River Logging Company, which includes the 
owners of the Winona mills. But within the last five years a 
portion of the Winona supply of logs has been again derived 
from the St. Croix valley. 


During the period of sixty years of lumbering in the St. 
Croix valley one hundred and thirty-three mills have been 
erected, for the manufacture almost exclusively of pine tim- 
ber. Of this number of mills only twenty-seven are running 
in 1899. So few mills now are doing the work, w T ith an in- 
creased product of millions of lumber annually, which is due 
to the late improvements in machinery. Mills now cutting 
from ten to forty-five millions per season are doing what in 
former years would have required the running of ten or fifteen 
mills, to manufacture the same amount in the same time. 

In the following tabulated statistics the logs noted as cut 
prior to the boom output in 1851 are reported beyond in the 
manufacturers' table, excepting 55,000,000 feet rafted to St. 

The earliest statistics are from persons operating, and the 
later from record books. I give the figures in round numbers. 
The table includes logs cut and floated down the St. Croix 
river and its tributaries. 

Amount of Logs cut from 1S37 to 1S98. 

Year. Feet. Year. Feet. 

1837- 38 300,000 1845 34.000,000 

1838- 39 700,000 1S46 25,600,000 

1840 1,500,000 1S47 28,000,000 

1841 2,500,000 1848 87,000,000 

1842 3,000,000 1849 50,000,000 

1843 3,500,000 1850 75,000,ooo 

1844 8,500,000 

The following figures give the boom output from 185] to 



Year. Feet. Year. Feet. 

1S51 107,000,000 1875 121,3S9,720 

1S52 110,000,000 1876 152,520,000 

1853 120,000,000 1877 140,540,890 

1854 125,000,000 1878 132,735,870 

1S55 130,000.000 1879 201,763,500 

1856 135,000,000 1880 201,440,000 

1S57 140,000,000 1881 231,000,500 

1558 142,000,000 1882 273,810,400 

1559 145,000,000 18S3 271,272,S00 

1560 150,000,000 1884 274,350,000 

1861 140,000,000 1S85 225,540,800 

1862 175,000,000 1886 191,454,500 

1863 t 150,000,000 18S7 270,060,100 

1864 140,000,000 1888 365,486,300 

1865 130,000,000 18S9 262,385,980 

1866 145,000,000 1890 452,300,890 

1867 128,000,000 1891 315,1S0.700 

1868 145,000,000 1892 436,899,770 

1869 150,000,000 1893 359,468,720 

1870 165,000,000 1894 281,470,400 

1S71 170,000,000 1895 353,062,850 

1872 181,000,000 1896 321,764,530 

1873 160,000,000 1897 311,615,170 

1874 120,000,000 189S 344,728,217 

Recapitulation of Logs and Sawn Lumber. 


Log output from the boom, 1851 to 1898 9,895,303,207 

From Willow river, Wisconsin 100,000,000 

Logs rafted before 1851 55,000,000 

Total of logs from the St. Croix and tributaries, board 

measure 10,050,303,207 

This amount does not include the logs sawn into lumber 
at mills on the railroads, which are placed in the following 
statistics of lumber manufactured on the St. Croix and within 
its drainage area. 


Above the boom 347.000,000 

Below the boom 3.352.000.000 

On the St. Paul & Duluth railroad U387,000,000 

On the C, St. P., M. & Omaha railway 1,900.000,000 

On the Eastern Minnesota railway 159,000,000 

On Apple river and Balsam creek 117.000.000 

On Clam and Wood rivers 27.000.000 

Total of sawn lumber 7,858.000,000 



A considerable part of this amount was cut on adjacent 
areas drained by branches of the Chippewa river. From this 
and the foregoing tables, we obtain the total amount of pine 
timber cut in the St. Croix basin, approximately, 14,054.000,- 
000 feet. The value of this timber, for the St. Croix basin, 
before it was cut, called its stumpage value, may be estimated 
at §3 per thousand, amounting to §42,1G2,000. 

Cost of Labor in Lumbering, 1887 to 1898. 

The amount paid for labor in lumbering in the St. Croix 
valley has been approximately as follows: 

Manufacturing 7,359,000,000 feet of lumber $17,661,600 

Cutting, driving, boomage and rafting of 6,695,000,000 feet 

of logs, s&vm farther south 3,347,500 

Boom labor on 10,050,303,000 feet. 5,018,S00 

Manufacturing shingles, laths, and pickets 1,000,000 

Labor on Xevers dam 100,000 

Miscellaneous labor, as building mills 1,100,000 

Total cost of labor $28,227,900 

The disbursement of this vast sum has been largely to the 
surrounding states, much of the wages, as of the lumber, being 
taken from the Valley to build the farm houses, towns, and 
cities of our great prairie region. Many a young man, in cen- 
tral and western Minnesota, and the Dakotas, received his 
first money for labor performed at the boom, in the mills, or 
in the pineries, which laid the foundations for many happy, 
prosperous homes. 

The wages paid in states farther south for manufacturing 
the lumber of logs run from the St. Croix valley to southern 
markets is estimated as about $10,000,000. 

Losses by Fires. 

The losses by fires destroying mills and lumber in the Val- 
ley, not including losses of standing pine timber burned, have 
been approximately as follows: 

On the St. Croix lake and river |3S4,000 

On the c. St. P., M. ft Omaha railway 00,000 

On the St. Paul ft I > ninth railroad and Its braBC&M 188 

'Total 11,139,000 


Estimates of the amount of timber standing in the Valley 
are very conjectural. Some of the large firms place their 
limit of operations at five to ten years. But the history of 
pine timber in pine-growing countries, in many instances, 
proves that this timber may be reproduced, growing anew, 
. after the original growth has been removed, if fires are kept 
t subdued. The growth of protected timber is equivalent to a 
good interest on the investment. Our forests should be pre- 
served and protected against fires and hunters, even if a pen- 
alty be imposed. With proper precautions, billions of valua- 
ble pine timber could thus be saved; and the same is true also 
of our almost equally valuable hardwood timber. 

In 1819, Crawford county was organized under the admin- 
istration of Gov. Lewis Cass of Michigan Territory; and that 
single county embraced within its bounds what are now the 
States of Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the western part 
of Wisconsin. Judge James D. Doty, at the age of twenty- 
three years, held the first district court, in 1S24, at Prairie du 
Chien, the county seat. Under the jurisdiction of Crawford 
county tribunals, criminals were transferred from the upper 
Mississippi valley to Prairie du Chien for trial. The writer 
of this paper settled in Crawford county in 1837, sixty-two 
* years ago. I have since continuously resided in what was old 
Crawford county, and during the last forty-nine years at Tay- 
lor's Falls. The boundary lines have been changed a number 
of times, leaving me, in 1800, in the State of Minnesota. 


Vox.. IX, PLATB VI. 




Personal Narration. 

My earliest Lome memories and first experience of toil 
were associated with the pine, woods of Maine, where I was 
born, in Leeds township, June 8th, 1820. Up to the age of 
fifteen years I attended school and worked on my fathers 
farm, which he had purchased in Milo township, then part of 
the great forest region of Maine. Our work consisted largely 
in cutting down the timber and burning it to clear the farm, 
a few acres being thus added each year to the tract under 
cultivation and pasturage. 

In the year 1839, responding to the call of Governor Fair- 
field, I enlisted, with the state militia company of which I was 
a member, and served eight months in the campaign for de- 
fense of the rights of Maine and of the United States in the 
establishment of the boundary between northern Maine and 

During much of the time for the next five years I was 
engaged with lumbermen in cutting logs and driving them 
down tributaries of the Penobscot river, and also worked 
during parts of these years in sawmills. 

In the autumn of 1844, I set my face toward the west, tak- 
ing passage, September 1st, in the steamer Bangor, to Boston, 
thence going by railway to Albany, and by canal to Buffalo. 
The canal passage across the state of Now York took iei 1 

•Read at the monthly mootlnf: ,.f the Km cutlvo Council, M iy S, l-.'. 1 


Thence the trip to Chicago was by the steamer Nile, and 
we encountered a very severe storm on Lake Huron. Reach- 
ing Chicago, I was disappointed in the appearance of that far 
advertised city. Lots close w r est of the river could be pur- 
chased for two hundred dollars. 

After a few days' stay in Chicago, I went on by stage to 
Belvidere, Illinois, near which place my elder brother George, 
who had come west earlier, was farming. His children were 
sick with the ague. According to my wish, he sold his prop- 
erty in Belvidere, and we together moved onw T ard to a healthier 
location near Freeport, in northwestern Illinois, where he took 
a farming claim of government land. 

During the following winter I explored the Galena mining 
region, and in the spring of 1845 went to the Wisconsin 
pineries. Two years of hard work in lumbering and sawing 
followed, with good investments of money partly brought from 
Maine and partly earned during these years. The spring and 
summer of the next year, 1847, found me rafting lumber down 
the Wisconsin river and thence down the Mississippi, selling 
it in Dubuque, Galena, Quincy, and St. Louis. As lumber 
•bought in northern Wisconsin, rafted, and sold in these grow- 
ing towns and cities along the Mississippi, brought large prof- 
its, I decided to return in the fall to the pineries and continue 
in this business. 


While I was resting for a part of the summer of 1847, in 
St. Louis, after the sale of my lumber, the heat became so 
intense that I decided to leave for my voyage up the river. 
Just then Capt. John Atchison, with his steamer Lynx, arrived 
from New Orleans, carrying a cargo of government supplies 
for Fort Snelling, and having on board a pleasure party for 
the same destination. I secured a stateroom and joined the 
party. They were all southerners excepting myself, a jolly 
crowd of ladies and gentlemen. The captain of the boat sup- 
plied a brass band that played and entertained 08 all day. and 
then furnished string music to dance by in the evening. Thus 
the whole trip was spent In pleasure, and the time passed 
rapidly until we arrived at Port Snelling, 

* l i... » ******* .•jfe^v.. .u jjl 


Minnesota HllTOHfOAt. SOCIETY, 
Vol. EX. Plats VII. 



There Mr. Franklin Steele awaited the arrival of the party 
with carriages to convey us across the waving prairie to St. 
Anthony falls. I rode with Mr. Steele in a two-wheeled cart, 
and he entertained me by describing his claim at the falls, 
and the improvements contemplated for the following autumn. 
At the end of our ride, he pointed out the site of the dam and 
the sawmill he intended to build, while the steward of the 
boat was preparing dinner for the party on the grass, between 
the spring and the old gristmill. 

When all the carriages had arrived, every one was anxious 
to secure the best view of this magnificent body of water as 
it plunged and seethed over the rocks on its long journey to 
the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of people had gazed on this 
grand spectacle, but no man with capital as yet had attempted 
to utilize this wonderful natural water power. The bell rang 
for dinner, and the party gathered to the feast. There were 
luxuries prepared by the steward, and delicacies prepared by 
the ladies and distributed by their own hands. There were 
good wines in abundance, which made the crowd merry, and 
two hours were spent in feasting and drinking. But clouds 
were gathering and indicated a shower very soon, and that 
the party would get a drenching before they could reach the 
boat. The horses were urged on, and the party reached Min- 
nehaha falls as the rain began to pour down. Those in open 
carriages found shelter under the shelving rock, where they 
were secure until the storm passed over, when all returned 
to the steamer. The captain had invited the officers and 
their wives from the fort to join in the dance in the evening, 
and all had a good time. 

I rode back to the steamer with Mr, Steele, and we dis- 
cussed more thoroughly his claim at the Falls of St. Anthony, 
and the improvements he wished to make on it. He wanted 
me to examine the claim, and, as soon as he should hear favor- 
ably from Hon. Caleb Gushing and other eastern capitalist! 
forming a company for the manufacture of lumber at the 
falls, he wanted me to explore the upper Mississippi for pine. 
When the dance was over, I bade the company good-night and 
the excursion party adieu, and had my baggage put ashore 

and removed to the hotel kept by Philander Prescott, where 
I tarried until T started on my exploring trip. 


In the morning the steamer was gone, when Mr. Steele 
and I crossed the ferry at the fort and went up the east side 
of the Mississippi to the falls. Everything was just as nature 
had made it, and the scenery of the islands and river bluffs 
was indeed beautiful. Civilized man had seen it, but had left 
no evidence that it had ever been visited before. The falls 
looked abandoned. No new improvements could be seen any- 
where. A few weather-beaten buildings marked the sites of 
Minneapolis, St. Paul and Stillwater. At St. Croix Falls a 
mill and hotel had been recently built, and these were the 
only new improvements or new buildings in the whole country. 

Benjamin Cheever, Cushing's agent, came from St. Croix 
Falls to Fort Snelling to finish up the agreement for the im- 
provements to be made on the Franklin Steele water-power 
claim at St. Anthony falls. Gushing had written to Mr. 
Cheever what he would do, and that, if Mr. Steele was satis- 
fied, the writings should be drawn up. The conversation took 
place in Mr. Steele's front parlor, and the argument lasted all 
day. I was also present. The contention was that the claim 
was not adequate security for the capital necessary for the 
improvements, as it was on unsurveyed land, and it was settled 
in the following manner. 

Franklin Steele, of Fort Snelling, Wisconsin Territory, and 
Caleb Gushing, Robert Rantoul, and their associates, of Mas- 
sachusetts, entered into an agreement to make the improve- 
ments for the manufacture of pine timber at the Falls of St. 
Anthony, on the Steele claim on unsurveyed government land. 
It was agreed, between the capitalists and Mr. Steele, that, 
before "the advancing of capital, the Mississippi river and its 
branches above the falls should be explored by me, and that 
a written report should be made by me of the estimated 
amount of pine found, and of the navigation of the river and 
its tributaries. On the receipt of my report, Cashing ami 
Company were to decide on the amount of capital they would 
invest in the improvement for lumber manufacturing 00 Mr. 
Steele's claim. 

Soon after this agreement was made, Benjamin Cheever 
returned east, and within a year he died. His brother, Wil- 
liam A. Cheever, was one of the piomvrs of St. Anthony. Bel 
tling there in the saino year. IS 1 7. 




It was near the end of summer when the outfit was in 
readiness for my exploring voyage. On the first day of Sep- 
tember, 1847, there were seen, by Pierre Bottineau and others, 
three men, his younger brother, Severre Bottineau, Charles 
Manock, and myself, paddling in a bark canoe up the east shore 
of the Mississippi river above St. Anthony falls. 'When op- 
posite what is now called Boom Island, we were hailed by 
Pierre from the shore, saying, "'How far do you expect to 
travel in that canoe at this low stage of water? The bottom 
will be out of the canoe in less than a week." We answered, 
"To Mille Lacs, the source of Rum river;" and the canoe and 
party moved on up the Mississippi. This little exploring 
party's report, the money consequently supplied from the east, 
and Franklin Steele's perseverance and unlimited will, made 
it possible to make the improvements on unsurveyed govern- 
ment land. My written report secured the capital from Caleb 
Cushing and his associates; and his influence in Congress se- 
cured the survey of the government land adjoining the falls 
and including this claim. The discovery by the exploring 
party of the almost inexhaustible pine timber above the falls 
of St. Anthony, heralded throughout all the states and Can- 
ada, brought immigration from every state, and changed this 
part of the territory from barbarism to civilization. 

When the exploring party went up the Mississippi river, 
half of the present state of Wisconsin was the hunting ground 
of the Ojibway Indians, three-fourths of what is now Minne- 
sota was owned by the same people, and all the area of the 
Dakotas was owned by the Sioux Indians. Since 1847 four 
states have been carved out of that territory and admitted to 
the Union. 

Returning to the exploring party in the canoe, we find 
them camped at the mouth of Bum river, with the timber 
crew that came up the road. This crew of twenty men or 
more were to advance with the exploring party until the Ant 
pine was discovered; and then they were Immediately to pro 
coed to hew and bank timber until the return of that party. 
They pushed on the second day to the head of the rapids. 

about fifteen miles. The canoe had to be carried i part of the 


distance, the water being too shallow to float it. We camped 
on the bank of the river the second night, with the timber 
crew, and the third night in a tract of scrub pine, known aft- 
erward as the Dutchman's grove, about three miles northwest 
of the present town of Cambridge. The timber crew I located 

Our party in the canoe started on up the river to explore 
it all the way to Mille Lacs and see what could be found. The 
bottomland was wide; the growth of timber was thick, but 
wholly of deciduous species, with no pine; and the river was 
crooked. The mosquito, the gnat, and the moose-fly, met and 
opposed us. They w T ere first in the fight. The battle com- 
menced early each morning and lasted all day. It was a 
bravely contested battle; for ten days the blood flowed freely. 
The enemy contested every foot of ground. The fight on our 
side was for civilization; on theirs for barbarism. When 
night came we crawled under the mosquito bar that was set 
up, where all was protected and secure for sleep. But the 
men were discouraged with the prolonged struggle each day, 
and said that it would be better to return and wait until later 
in the autumn, and that if we continued I would be dead in 
less than a week; but in the morning the canoe was moving 
on up the river. 

The third day from where we left the timber crew, I saw 
on the west shore a tributary which I wished to explore. We 
had passed over sixty 7 miles of the meandering river course 
above the timber camp, and had carried the canoe for miles 
over jams in the river made by trunks of trees that had been 
washed and torn out of the bank and had floated down and 
•filled the river. Up to this time no tracts of pine forest had 
been discovered. On the following morning after coming to 
this tributary, I started to explore it for pine. On each side, 
all the country was covered with pine and hardwood for 
miles away from the stream, as far as it was navigable. It 
was called the West branch of Rum river. At its mouth is 
now located the town of Princeton. This branch was well 
timbered for more than Iwonty-fivo miles, as also were all its 

tributaries. The pine on each side was from three to six miles 
wide. Its amount could hardly be estimated until the land 

Bhould be surveyed into townships and sections, 



We returned to the canoe and pushed on up the main river, 
until, about dark, we came to a small stream where we camped. 
The next day I explored this stream to its source, eight miles 
or more. There was pine on both shores." There was also 
pine on each side of the main river, I made it a practice to 
climb a tall tree every six miles when exploring, and to look 
from its top across the woods which reached far away .in every 

A large tributary, the most northern entering from the 
west, which was afterward called Bradbury brook, had the 
finest pine I had seen. This brook, in its south and north 
forks, was navigable for log driving, with pine on both shores. 

The pine on the main river reached from the shore, on each 
side, as far as the eye could see from the top of the highest 
tree, along all its extent of fifty miles or more from the mouth 
of the West branch to Mille Lacs. I had seen far more pine 
than the company expected to find. 

Billions of feet of pine that grew upon the shores of Rum 
river and its tributaries belonged to the red man in 1847, 
but has since been cut and removed by the civilized paleface, 
whose capital and influence in Congress obtained from the 
Indian the title and possession of this land and its timber. 
When once stripped of the pine forest which was its wealth, 
the land, formerly the hunting ground of the Indians, ought 
to revert to its original owners, as the inheritance given them 
by the Great Spirit. A large part of it is worthless for agri- 
culture, but was a source of sustenance to the red man. 
Abundance of game, and thousands of bushels of wild rice, 
together with the sugar made from the sap of the maple trees 
which are found in abundance, supplied to the simple Ojibway 
an easy living. The annuities which our government now al- 
lows them do not repay half of what they relinquished in giv- 
ing up their lands to the settler and the lumberman. 

When the exploring crew came to the Bice Lakes, eight 
miles from Mille Lacs, the squaws had tied the rice together 
for threshing, and therefore the canoe could not pass through 
and had to be taken to the shore. We walked to Mille Lacs, 
which we found to be a very large body « , f water, too broad 
for one standing on the Bhore to Bee the land on its farthest 

side. Here we found a band of Indians and an old chief, B6C- 



ond in authority to Hole-in-the-Day. They had planted small 
gardens, and seemed like half-civilized people. We were 
treated as braves and given plenty of game, corn, and potatoes. 

On the shores of the Eice lakes, which we had passed, many 
Indians were encamped. In the lakes, for more than six miles, 
they were gathering the wild rice. I had never seen that arti- 
cle of food before, and desired to know how it was harvested 
and prepared for food. When the rice is ready for gathering, 
it is made into bundles by drawing two or three straws around 
a bunch and tying them. They make lines or rows of these 
bunches across the lake; and each family has from two to five 
rows. Each has a canoe with a blanket spread in the bottom 
to hold the rice. The canoe is run between two rows by two 
squaws, and they pull the tops of the bunches of rice over the 
side of the canoe and pound them with a stick. In this simple 
way they secure large quantities of this nutritious grain. 
After it has been winnowed, it is prepared for packing by 
heating it in camp kettles over a fire until it is parched. The 
grain then is put into packages for storage, and it will keep 
for years. The packages, which the Ojibways call mokuks, 
are made of birch bark, and are pitched like a canoe. They 
hold from a half bushel to one bushel, and are stored away 
in the ground for winter, being covered with leaves and old 

Fifty-four years have passed since I first dealt with the 
Indians. In all my experience, they have been found more 
true and honorable than most of the white men with whom 
they have come in contact on the frontier. 

In our return from this exploration we saw sugar maple 
woods, where the Indians of Mille Lacs and Rum river make 
a part of their yearly supply of sugar. I have since seen their 
sugar camps in the spring in full operation. They use the 
birch bark for vessels to hold the sap, and it is boiled in their 
iron camp kettles. The hot syrup is strained through a Man 
lcet, and on cooling it granulates and makes finely flavored 

I smoked the pipe of peace with the Mille Lacs chief; and, 
in compliance with my request, he sent one <>f his braves with 
me to receive presents where we had left the canoe, i found 

everything in readiness to retain to the timber ramp, which 










Minnesota HlBTOltlOAL BOOIBTT, 




we reached in a few days. We were badly disfigured by the 
mosquitoes and flies, and our necks were raw in places. Look- 
ing in the glass, one would have been disgusted with his ap- 
pearance; but I was overjoyed with what I had discovered. 
I had found far more pine timber than could reasonably be 
expected, and the exploration had been made in less than one 
month's time. 

I made out my report and dispatched a man to the fort 
to Mr. Steele, telling him that I had seen pine that seventy 
mills could not cut in as many years, although I had seen but 
a small part of it. This report went east, and an answer was 
returned before my arrival at the fort, as I remained with the 
lumbering crew for driving their logs down to St. Anthony 
falls. Relying on my report, Cushing, Rantoul and Company 
supplied to Mr. Steele $10,000 as their part of the investment 
here in constructing the dam, building a sawmill, and begin- 
ning the manufacture of lumber. 


The logging crew had everything in order for the drive. 
The water was low, and at the beginning the flies and mos- 
quitoes were still abundant. We made slow progress, occu- 
pying nearly four w r eeks in reaching the Mississippi river. It 
was then the first of November; cold weather had come, and 
a storm was in the clouds. We had only a temporary boom 
at the mouth of the river to hold the timber, and the rope I 
had ordered to hold the boom had not arrived. The men were 
worn out, having been wading in the cold water for more 
than a week. I had left a man to watch the progress of the 
storm, and to wake the crew if there should be any change. 
The snow was falling fast, and it was frozen on the timber in 
the river by the cold wind from the north. At midnight a cry 
came to the crew that the boom had broken and all the timber 
had gone into the Mississippi. On reaching the mouth of the 
river, I saw at a glance that all was gone, and that the main 
river was being covered with ice and snow. 

Caleb D. Dorr and John McDonald had been sent Dp to 
Swan river, after I loft on the exploring trip, to gel out a fei? 
pieces of large timber that I could not get on Hum river; and 
they had run this timber down the Mississippi and landed their 
raft, and were camping with my crew the night when the 


boom gave way. That same evening Mr. Dorr and myself bad 
talked over the business, as both were engaged by the same 
party, and we were congratulating each other on having done 
.more than was expected of us. The following morning all our 
bright prospects had been swept down the river. On account 
of this disaster I must go back and take a new start, if the 
new improvements were to go forward. There was ho means 
of transportation, except that which nature had given us, so 
we made the journey to St. Anthony on foot. 

When I arrived at the falls, I entered the mess house which 
had been built for the men who were to work on the dam and 
mill, and Mr. Dorr introduced me to Ard Godfrey, the mill- 
wright. ■ It was evening, and after eating I asked for a place 
to sleep; and when I said good night to Mr. Godfrey, I asked 
to see him before I should go to the fort in the morning to 
meet Mr. Steele. I was up early and found Mr. Godfrey ready. 
I asked whether there was a boat to convey us to the island. 
The boat was there, and very soon we landed on the island, 
since named for Hennepin, which divides the falls into two 
parts. I was anxious, on account of the loss of our logs, and 
said: "Mr. Godfrey, why not cut the hardwood timber here 
for the dam? I have built several dams in Maine out of 
poorer timber than this. It will cost less, and will make a 
better job. The plank can be had at St. Croix Falls to make 
it tight, and the dam can be built this winter. Should you 
wait for pine timber, it will delay the improvements one year 
longer. It appears to me that the dam ought to be built just 
above the cataract, and be no more than five feet high, so that 
the waste water will go over it." This idea of patting the 
dam at the head of the waterfall was new to him, and he 
said that he would not build the mill if my plan was decided 
on, but that he could use the trees on the island for the dam. 

I found Mr. Steele getting ready to visit the falls, and told 
him what had happened, and that no one was to blame for 
what the elements had done. Mr. Steele said he saw the tim- 
ber floating past the fort and knew that all was gone, and 
that the improvements would have to bo delayed at least one 
year, besides a loss of two thousand dollars, and (he expense 
of paying the millwright while waiting unemployed. But i 
said to him: "Why delay building the dam and order hewed 



pine for its construction, when trees enough to build two such 
dams are within a stone's throw and will cost only the work 
of cutting them?" It was on government land, and the round 
hardwood timber was equally as good as the hewed pine. Mr. 
Steele remarked that the plans of the dam and mill were fixed 
by the millwright. The construction of the dam was changed 
from square to round timber, and the trees for this use were 
cut on Hennepin island. 


It was needful next to provide the pine logs for the first 
year's sawing. They could not be taken out of Rum river 
until the stream was cleared of its driftwood. It was evi- 
dently better to go up the Mississippi river; and for advice 
in this undertaking Mr. Steele and I went to St. Paul to see 
Mr. Henry M. Rice. We found Mr. Rice preparing to send 
goods to his trading post at the mouth of the Crow Wing 
river. He said that he could buy the pine of Hole-in-the-Day, 
and would assist us all he could. The chief, he said, was a 
young man of twenty years and poor, and that a few presents 
would satisfy him. 

We decided, after the interview, to log somewhere up the 
Mississippi, but no one knew where the pine was located. 
This I had to find, and then to make the best bargain I could 
with the chief for the standing pine. 

The whole outfit for logging had to come from St. Croix 
Falls or Stillwater. With the best arrangements that could 
be made, it would be December before the logging party could 
start, and then we must travel more than a hundred and fifty 
miles with oxen, for horses could not be obtained. The road 
through the timber must be cut, and supplies for the men and 
teams must be taken along, as the roads could not be kept 
open during the winter for that long distance. All must be 
ready to start in less than three weeks. Everything had to 
be hunted up and got together, as the teams, sleds, etc. I 
proposed that, before going back, we should look for (rams, 
the most essential part of our logging outfit. Mr. Steele hired 
a conveyance, and we started on the road to Stillwater. Ail 
the farms were in the area extending from St. Paul and Still- 
water south to Point Douglas. Within two days nr Halted 
thorn, and had secured all the teams needed for logging, a 



few sleds for the supplies, and several men. In less than two 
weeks we had the outfit completed for the winter's work of 

It was the first of December when we started, and snow 
was on the ground. The procession consisted of teams of two 
or four oxen, and horses, mules, and ponies, with supplies to 
feed the men and teams until spring. Our intention was to 
stop at night wherever we could find water for our teams. 
About ten days after we left St. Anthony falls, we made a 
temporary camp at the mouth of the Nokasippi river, opposite 
to where Fort Ripley was afterward built. 

I left the teams and men at this camp and went forward 
on a pony to the Crow Wing river, where Mr. Rice had his 
trading post. I found him there, and he told me that I could 
make a bargain with the chief, to whom he had spoken about 
cutting pine logs on his land, but that he had not ascertained 
where they should be cut or at what price. 

I also sought an interview with Mr. Allan Morrison, who 
had lived at Crow Wing as a trader many years. His wife 
was a half-breed Ojibway, and he was Hole-in-the-Day's ad- 
viser. Mr. Steele, being acquainted with Mr. Morrison, had 
given me a letter to him when I started. He looked the letter 
over, and then said, "You can take your meals with us, and I 
will do what I can with the chief, to help Mr. Steele." I told 
him that my teams, with thirty men, would be there the next 
day, and that I desired to have a talk with the chief at once, 
because I had to locate the logging party after finding where 
the timber was. 

Mr. Morrison sent for Hole-in-the-Day, and it was decided 
that the talk should take place at Mr. Rice's store the next 
morning. Mr. Morrison spoke of presents. I had not pro- 
vided any, but told him that he could offer a pony and some 
blankets, to be given when I was located, if the price for the 
pine was reasonable. 

The chief came the next morning, and Mr. Morrison WU 
the interpreter. I told him that the great Ogema at the falls 
of St. Anthony wanted to buy some pine trees to build a mill 
and to make improvements, and that I had come a Long difl 
tance to see him about it. He said he had vast pine WOOdl 
farther up toward Leech lake. I inquired whether he would 


Bell me the pine close west of the Mississippi about four miles 
below Crow Wing river, and asked the price per tree for what 
I could cut and haul. Mr. Morrison and the chief had a talk 
together, and then the chief said that he wanted five pairs of 
blankets, some calico, and broadcloth; that the price of the 
pine trees would be fifty cents for each tree hauled to the river; 
and that he wished the additional present of a pony the next 
spring. This seemed an exorbitant price, but I told him that 
when I found the pine and saw how large the trees were, I 
would give him an answer, and that I wanted the privilege of 
exploring without being molested. This was agreed upon, 
and we parted to meet again at the end of a week. 

Examining the pine timber below the mouth of the Crow 
Wing river, and finding a plenty for the winters hauling 
within one mile from the Mississippi. I selected a place to 
build the camp, and then went to get the teams and men and 
to set them at work building the camp and stables. The next 
day we all were on the ground and began the work for our 
winter's logging. 

Then I returned to Crow Wing to close the bargain for 
the timber. I met Mr. Rice and Mr. Morrison and told them 
that the timber was small and not very good, and that fifty 
cents a tree was all I could pay for the privilege of removing 
it, I would let Hole-in-the-Day have what he wanted for pres- 
ents, but the amount they cost me should be deducted from 
what was due to him in the spring. I would advance the 
goods, and he could get them from Mr. Rice when he wanted 
them. The chiefs father, the older Hole-in-the-Day, had been 
killed less than a year before, and all the old chief left had 
been used in lamentation. About five hundred Indians were 
camping on the island at the mouth of the Crow Wing river, 
and they had but little to eat or to wear. Morrison sent for 
the chief, and in less than an hour my proposition was ac- 
cepted. Some provisions of food were added to what was to 
be advanced in payment. It was agreed that Mr. Morrison 
should draw up the writings for the chief of the Ojibway ra- 
tion, who therein guaranteed that Done of his people should 

camp within one mile of our camp, or should commit any '1 o 
redations or prevent in any way my removing the pine from 
the land. 


After the papers were signed, I returned to my camp, well 
pleased with what I had accomplished. I sent the supply 
teams home, and wrote to Mr. Steele what I had done. The 
camp went up with a rush, and in ten da}*s the teams were 
hauling logs. We had a good winter for the business and jmt 
in one and a half million feet of logs, besides timber for a mile 
and a half of boom. 

We had very little trouble with the Indians during the win- 
ter. On one occasion an Indian put up his tepee in the night 
within a stone's throw of the camp. The next morning, when 
the teamster was hitching up his team, the Indian said, "If 
you don't give me some meat, I will kill an ox and get some." 
I told young Bottineau, who was interpreter, to command him 
to leave, and to threaten, if he refused, that we would have 
his scalp. Bottineau took the cook's poker and struck him 
just as he was about to fire. He knocked the Indian down, 
and the gun flew out of his hands. The squaw came to his 
rescue, but the whole crew by this time were out of the camp 
and ready to take a part in the row. I requested Bottineau 
to hold the Indian, but not to hurt him, and to tell the squaw 
to pack up and leave at once. She left with her papoose in 
double quick time. I reported the Indian's conduct to the 
chief, and we had no more trouble. 

Near the end of the winter, some braves, numbering about 
twenty, had been out on the warpath for the purpose of pun- 
ishing the Sioux. They had killed an old squaw, and returned 
with her scalp. They came into our camp about midnight, 
and commenced dancing around the camp-fire. The crew, 
awakened by their howling noise, were alarmed, and each se- 
cured some weapon to defend himself. When the Indians saw 
that we were all armed, they stopped their racket. Bottineau 
asked them w 7 hat they wanted. They said that they wore hun- 
gry, and he told them to sit down and the cook would feed 
them. After eating, they left for Crow Wing, without making 
any further disturbance. We had no other difficulties with 
the Indians during the winter. 

EXPLORATION OF the rPrER streams anp t IKES 
Late in February, Mr. Rice h:i<l arranged to visit his trad- 
ing posts on Leech lake and Other lakes a( the sounvs of the 
Mississippi. I wished to finish my explorations before March, 

4 v 


and therefore I arranged to accompany him. I had received 
very important information from Mr. Morrison, who knew the 
lakes and rivers, and had seen the pine growing upon their 
shores. But I wanted to explore the country myself, and to 
estimate its amount of pine timber. We started on snow- 
shoes, and had two packers to carry the supplies and the lug- 
gage for camping. I found pine in abundance on the trail, 
and at every trading post gathered all the information the 
traders could give me. I took notes of the location of pine 
woods on the lakes and on the main river and its tributaries. 

All this information led me to believe, and to report to 
Caleb Cushing, that the pine on the upper waters of the Mis- 
sissippi would last for several generations to come. As more 
than fifty years have since passed, this prediction is being 
proved true. 

The exploration that I had engaged to do for Steele and 
Cushing was thus completed shortly before the end of our work 
of cutting logs. On the first of March I broke camp, and with 
part of the crew started for St. Anthony, leaving the remain- 
der of the crew to prepare for the drive. 


I found that the dam at St. Anthony falls was finished, 
with the exception of planking. Mr. Godfrey had pushed the 
work, intending to have the dam closed in before the rise of 
the water from the snow melting in the spring. There were 
other improvements and many newcomers. 

Proceeding to Fort Snelling, I found Mr. Steele severely 
ill at this time of my return, early in March, 184S; and in 
business for him and myself I went onward to Dubuque and 
Galena. For Mr. Steele I visited Galena bankers, previously 
known to me, by whom he received two remittances of §5,000 
each from Cushing and Company, their investment for lum- 
ber manufacturing at St. Anthony. 

When I came back, early in June, many other newcomen 
had arrived in St. Anthony, with their families, to make this 
place their home. New houses wore boin^ built on the corner 
lots, and the town had put on a domestic appearance. Bum 
nerW. Farnham was making arrangements for Ins people, who 
arrived that fall. There was a continued and large Immigra- 
tion until winter. 


Among the immigrants were Luther Patch and his fam- 
ily. His eldest daughter, Marian, was married to Roswell P. 
Russell, October 3d, 1848. This was the first wedding in St. 
Anthony, and I had the honor of being present. They had 
done considerable fishing on a large rock below the falls, which 
was a very romantic place to talk over matters in which the 
two were most interested. The decision they made that au- 
tumn was for a life together, which has proven one of peace 
and happiness. They and their children have been a blessing 
to all with whom they have been associated. 

The first sawmill that the company built began to saw 
lumber September 1st, 1848, just one year from the time when 
the exploring party in the little canoe started up the Missis- 
sippi to estimate its supply of pine. Following that explora- 
tion, the town was surveyed and lots were placed on sale. The 
real estate office and the lumber office were together. Later 
in the autumn a gang sawmill and two shingle mills were to 
be erected, to be ready for business in the spring of 1849. 

Sumner W. Farnham ran the first sawmill during that 
autumn, until he took charge of one of my logging parties in 
the winter. As soon as the mill started, it was run night and 
day in order to supply enough lumber for the houses of im- 
migrants, who were pouring in from the whole country. There 
was life put into every enterprise. The houses had to be 
built of green lumber; and all merchandise came from St. 
Paul, or from the store of Franklin Steele at the fort. Dry 
lumber was hauled from Stillwater to finish the buildings. 
Both common and skilled laborers were scarce, as the mill 
company employed all they could possibly work on their im- 
provements. Before Governor Ramsey proclaimed the organ- 
ization of the Territory of Minnesota, June 1st, 1840, a busy 
town had grown up, called St. Anthony, built mostly by New 
England immigrants, and presenting the appearance of a thriv- 
ing New England village. 

When river navigation opened in 1819, on the first boats, 
immigration came in small armies. Every boat was full of 
passengers. The sawmills were all running to supply Lumber 
to build houses for the newcomers, and this was continued 
through all the year, as long as navigation lasted. About 
half of the immigrants stopped at St. Paul Both towns 
doubled in houses and families. 


Minnksota IIistoukwi. HOCIITT, 

V()|.. IX. Pl.ATK IX. 


In the same year, 1S49, I built a store at St. Anthony, and 
put in a general stock of goods; and Anson Northup com- 
menced to build the St. Charles hotel, which he finished the 
. next year. In 1848 he had built the American House in St. 
Paul. He was one of the most enterprising and generous men 
that I ever knew, always accommodating and hospitable. He 
built the first hotels for transient people both in St. Paul and 
St. Anthony. It took money to make these improvements, 
and he always had the money or knew where he could procure 
it to carry on the work. 


The firm of Borup and Oakes, in St. Paul, furnished sup- 
plies to many of the early lumbermen, and took logs in pay- 
ment. In 1856 they ran many rafts of logs to St. Louis. As 
surveyor general that year, I scaled over six million feet of 
logs for them. Their store in Sf. Paul was a branch of the 
immense business of Pierre Chouteau, Jr., and Co., of St. Louis. 

John S. Prince, of St. Paul, also supplied outfits for lum- 
bering, and in payment received logs for sawing in his mill, 
which was situated just below the steamboat landing. He 
was the first to manufacture lumber in St. Paul. 

Merchants of that city sold supplies to logging companies; 
but scarcely any St. Paul men engaged in lumbering in the 
woods, and only a few were lumber manufacturers. Most of 
the lumber used for buildings in St. Paul came from the St. 
Anthony mill company. 

Nearly all the money that came into the country consisted 
of government annuities paid to the Indians. It passed into 
the hands of the Indian traders, who had it all promised be- 
fore the government made the payment. My store, built and 
stocked with goods in 1S49, was the largest then in St. An- 
thony, and I had no Indian trade to pay for the goods sold. I 
had to take logs as payment and ran them to the lower mar- 
kets, as did Borup and Oakes, to get money to purchase goods. 
It required one year to get cash returns for goods after they 
were delivered, and sometimes two years. 


Ilaving made a contract with Cashing find Steele, in the 
autumn of 1848, to stock all thfir mills w iih logs f«»r two years, 



I went up Iium river to explore the second time. On a trib- 
utary which enters this river from the northeast about four 
miles north of the present town of Cambridge, I found a small 
lake and good white pine on every side. This was afterward 
called Lower Stanchfield brook. I logged there two years, 
which was the first lumbering upon a large scale on Ruin river. 

A part of the lumber for building Fort duelling, however, 
had been cut on the same lake; for we found on its shore the 
remains of an old logging camp that had been there many 
years. In its vicinity pine trees had been cut and taken away, 
and the stumps had partially decayed. Logging had also been 
done at the same early date in the Dutchman's grove, where 
my party in the autumn of 1847 got the logs designed for 
building the St. Anthony dam. This grove was on the south- 
west side of the river, about midway between the Lower and 
Upper Stanchfield brooks, which come from the opposite side. 

I built two camps for the winter of 1S48, and then returned 
to St. Anthony to hire men and to secure teams and supplies. 
Sumner AY. Farnham was the foreman of one camp, as pre- 
viously noted; and one of my brothers, Samuel Stanchfield, 
was foreman for the other. The two camps put in two and 
a half million feet of logs that winter. Some of the men in 
camp were from Maine, including Sumner W. and Silas M. 
Farnham, Charles W. Stimpson, and others whose* names I 
have forgotten. My brother Samuel was in later years one of 
the prominent lumbermen of St. Anthony, having in 1856 pur- 
chased my store and logging business. 

In 1S49 I put in the logs of my contract for the mill cum- 
pany mostly on the Upper Stanchfield brook. Joseph EL 
Brown put in logs on tho same stream, over one million feet 
The two drives in the spring of 1850 went down the rher to- 

During the year 1850, the jams and rafts of driftwood in 
the upper part of the course <>f Rum river were cleared out by 

S. W. Farnham and <\ W. Stimpson. making the river nav- 
igable for logs from its source. The West branch was cleared 
afterward, within the same year. 

TyOgs were cut on both branches and on their tributaries 
in 1850, and over six million feet were driven to St. Anthony, 
and were there sawed by the mill company. Other logfl Wftlt 


below to the St. Paul boom, for markets farther down the 
river. The St. Anthony mills had two gangs and three single 
naws running this year, besides two shingle mills. The earli- 
est settlement of the part of Minneapolis that first bore this 
name, on the west side of the river, was in this year 1850. 

During the next winter I cut about two million feet of logs. 
There were eight parties, under different proprietors, engaged 
in lumbering on the upper Mississippi that winter; and alto- 
gether about S,800,000 feet of logs were driven the next spring 
to St. Anthony and Minneapolis. These logs were manufac- 
tured by the mill company, and the lumber was mostly sold 
in these rival towns and in St. Paul for building. The im- 
migration in 1851 was nearly twice as large as the year before. 

In the winter of 1851-52 my lumbering parties cut, for 
driving the next spring, three million feet of logs: and the 
total product of logs that season from the Rum river pineries, 
driven to St. Anthony by all the lumbermen, was over eleven 
millions. A part of this amount went over the falls and was 
rafted at the St. Paul boom, going to the lower markets. 

In 1853 the logs driven from Rum river and its West 
branch amounted to over 23,000,000 feet. In 1854 the product 
was nearly 33,000,000 feet; and the next year it exceeded 
thirty-six million. More than half the logs cut in the winter 
of 1855-'56 went over the St. Anthony falls, on account of tin? 
breaking of the boom above the falls in the spring of 1856. 
The logs were scattered down the river, some going into the 
"Cave boom 1 ' above St. Paul, some into "Pig's Eye slough," 
and others into the head of Lake Pepin. About twenty mil- 
lion feet of these runaway logs were collected, rafted, and 
sold in the southern markets. 

In 1S5G, I was appointed surveyor general of logs for the 
second district, comprising Minneapolis and the upper Mis- 
sissippi; and under the law I was forbidden to cut or manu- 
facture lumber during my term of office. Prom L85C to 1859, 
there were many improvements in lumber manufacturing, and 
more mills were added to those previously running. There 
was a steady increase in the yearly cul and drive Logs until 

1857, When they exceeded forty four million feet. Up tO that 
date, nearly all the logging was on the Rum river and its 



A later part of this paper gives the statistics of the logs 
cut in all the region drained by the Mississippi above Minne- 
apolis, for each year from 1848 to 1S99, yielding aggregate 
wealth of seventy-five million dollars. The gold received for 
the manufactured lumber contributed in a very large degree 
to the agricultural and commercial development of Minnesota 
and the two Dakotas. The farmers, who had at first sup- 
plied only the lumbermen with grain and flour, soon found, 
by steamboats and railways, more distant markets for their 
surplus grain, which made their farming profitable. This 
brought a great agricultural immigration. Its first start was 
mainly on account of needs of the lumbermen for provisions 
to feed their teams and themselves in the pine woods, in log 
driving, and in lumber manufacturing. 

The first great gold mine of the Northwest was its pine 
timber, which was taken from the red man almost without 
compensation. From the upper Mississippi region, above the 
falls of St. Anthony, it has yielded twelve billion feet of lum- 
ber, having a value, at the places where it was sawn, of not 
less than $75,000,000. This great lumber industry, more than 
all our other resources, built up the cities and towns on the 
upper Mississippi and its tributaries, at these falls and north- 


Two or three incidents may be related to show some of 
the dangers and hardships of pioneer exploration and lum- 
bering fifty years ago. In an exploring trip on the Bam river, 
I had spent three weeks alone, running lines and estimating 
timber for entries at the government land office. When re- 
turning, at a point near the Mississippi above Anoka. 1 was 
surrounded by a band of Ojibways, led by Hole-in~the-Day. 
The first I saw of them, they were in a curved line, like the 
shape of a new moon, running toward me. In a minute 1 WHS 
surrounded by more Hum a hundred threatening redskins with 
their faces painted for war. Bn1 as soon as Hole in the Daj 
made himself known, l had do fear of them, because 1 had 1m. 1 

friendly business relations with him. as before narrated. ^ - v 

shook hands, and I opened my pack, which had \ei \ little 



in it. The chief said that he was on the hunt for Sioux, but 
had seen none. AVe parted as friends; he went for game, and 
I continued on my journey home. 

At another time, I was again returning home from ex- 
ploring alone, and it had been raining all day. When it began 
to grow dark, I looked for my matches' to build a fire, and 
found them so damp that they would not light. Wolves were 
howling in the distance, and I knew that something must be 
done before long, as they seemed to be coming nearer all the 
time. I looked around for a tall tree, and, finding one that 
I thought would serve, I took my pack and ax and climbed 
up nearly to its top. The wolves soon began to come around 
the foot of the tree. It had grown colder, and the rain froze 
to form ice on the limbs, making them very slippery. I ar- 
ranged the limbs so that I could sit as comfortable as pos- 
sible under the circumstances, and wrapped my blankets 
around me, which gave some protection from the cold. The 
wolves howled and fought with each other around the foot 
of the tree all night; but I felt safe, knowing that the tree 
was so large they could not gnaw it with their teeth. At the 
approach of morning they scattered, and as soon as it was 
light I climbed down and started on again toward St. An- 

In the winter of 1S50, one of my lumber camps was burned, 
together with my supplies, and I had to hasten to St. Anthony 
and the fort for more supplies. During my return to the 
camp, walking forward alone in advance of the team, I was 
met in the thick brush by a pack of wolves. The road was 
narrow and crooked, and they filled it completely. I yelled 
at them and lifted my ax high in the air, going toward them. 
They began to scatter into the brush, and soon left plenty of 
room for me to pass between them unmolested; ami they 
looked at me until a turn in the road screened me from their 
view. Had I taken the opposite direction and turned t<> Bfr 
cape, they would probably have made a meal of me before 

the team would have reached me, as it was a mile back. 1 

hurried forward at a double quick pace until l reached the 
river, a mile ahead, where* we camped for the night. The 
wolves howled around us all night, but were sliy of the tire 
and the teams. 




My apprenticeship for lumbering was in my native state, 
Maine, during the years 1S37 to 1844. Most of our Minnesota 
lumbermen, and many settlers in our pine region, came from 
that state, and are therefore often called '"Mainites." The 
methods of lumbering in the Maine woods in 1830 to 1850 were 
transferred to Wisconsin and Minnesota. 

The logging party built their camp early in the fall, and 
then cut the main logging roads, which had to be straight, 
twelve or more feet wide, smooth, and level. Whole trees, 
trimmed of their branches, were hauled, the bark being re- 
moved from the under side so that it would slip easily on 
the snow. One end of the tree trunk was loaded on a bob- 
sled, the other part being dragged along. In this way the 
tree was taken to the landing on the shore of the lake or 
river, where it was rolled off the sled and the sawyers cut 
it into logs, cutting a mark of ownership on thp side of each 
log. The logs were then ready for the drivers, in the spring, 
to roll them into the water. 

The old camp, as it used to be built in Maine and at the 
beginning of lumbering in Minnesota, was simple but very 
handy. Two large trees, of the full length of the camp, were 
procured and placed about twenty feet apart, and two base 
logs were cut for the ends. Each end was run up to a peak 
like the gable of a house, but each side slanted up as a roof, 
from the long base tree at the ground, to the ridge-pole. This 
roof, constructed with level stringers, was shingled. A chim- 
ney, measuring about four by six feet, formed of round poles 
and calked, was built in the middle of the roof, and the tire 
was directly underneath it in the middle of the room, six 
stones were arranged, three at one end and three at the 
other, as the fire-place, Oil which the logs, about eight feet 
long, were laid and burned. Betweeu the two rows of stones 

a, hole was dug, and when filled with live coals [f was a lino 

oven for cooking meat or for baking beans or bread, Benches 
of hewn planks were built beside the tire, and thence ex- 
tended the "Hi ire length of the camp. The places for sleeping 

were back of tin- benches, being next to (he wall, and the hod 

consisted of fir boughs laid on the ground. A pole fastened 
horizontally in the chimney served as a crane to hang the